France has come top in a recent review of overseas property searches, perhaps down to Rugby World Cup fever and all eyes on the host Gallic nation.

*This reflects Country Life’s survey which found France to be the number one destination for British buyers

There were over a quarter of a million searches for French property during the month of September, representing a 130% increase at the same time last year.

Ireland also scored highly. Property searches for Irish homes have risen by a massive 400% compared to statistics for the same period in 2006.

The top five destinations were all traditional second home markets with Spain in second place (over 230,000 searches), followed by the USA, Italy and Portugal.

Bulgaria headed up the emerging market countries with over 50,000 searches, an increase of 69% on last year.

?We find that the countries Britons are most familiar with regularly top the overseas property popularity charts. Spain and France continue to outperform other markets due to their well-established reputations, ease of transport and popularity as holiday destinations.

?Spain, in particular, has long seen loyal Brits return year after year, so it stands to reason those same Brit?s are keen to invest in property there,? says Justin Figgins, head of RightmoveOverseas.co.uk, who conducted the research.

*Search for properties for sale in France