Where in France is best for British expats

Published:  13 Dec at 6 PM
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France has long been a popular destination for British expats looking for a new life, but where are the most popular areas for property purchases?

A recent snapshot of the most popular French regions with Britons looking to buy homes showed the coastal areas south of Normandy, the Rhone-Alpes and the far south eastern coastline as holding the most appeal. The number of British home-buyers heading for France during 2014 and 2015 rose by a huge 29 per cent over previous years, and is expected to be even higher this year.

The majority were non-resident at the time of purchase, with just under three thousand sales made to British expats already resident in the country and the remainder bought for use as holiday homes. Total percentages varied region to region with, for example, 77 per cent of foreign sales in Poitou Charentais made to UK citizens, as were 76 per cent of those in Lower Normandy and 70 per cent in Britanny. Average house prices for these sales were around the 300,000 euro range, but it’s still possible to find a French hideaway for around 100,000 euros or even less.

Those on smaller budgets who’re desperate to get out of the UK and who don’t need the comfort of large-town or city life can find a countryside sanctuary in at least eight of the French provinces. The French countryside is famous for its rural beauty, with the Creuse district of Limousin province the perfect place to start your search. Property prices average around 70,000 euros outside the main towns of Gueret, La Souterraine and Aubusson. Rolling agricultural visas come as standard, and cows make great neighbours.

Slightly more expensive but still cheap by UK standards are properties in the rural areas of Suisse Normandy. Surrounded by forests and rolling hills, homes here average out at around 97,000 euros, less if there’s some modernising work to be done. The region’s capital, Alencon, is charming, quaint and close by a national park offering walking and fishing. Riding is popular here, and the area is a hub for studs and racecourses.

Other French regions with highly affordable properties include the Val de Loire, dramatic, mountainous Occitanie and Languedoc Roussillon, now a part of Occitanie. Whatever the budget and personal preferences, moving to France can be the best retirement decision of all.
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