Country houses for sale

Property in France outlook

Property in France may never be better value than it is now, with prices at their lowest since 2003 and borrowing cheaper because of new tax breaks.

Also, changes to inheritance tax (the amount a parent can leave to each child has trebled, and transfers between husband and wife are now free) make this the time to snap up an investment, as there are some real bargains available, says Trevor Leggett, executive director of specialist French agent Leggett Immobilier (

Mr Leggett’s advice is backed up by recent research by the company that finds nearly half of British house hunters are attracted by good value in France.

‘Traditionally, France has been a country that has offered UK buyers excellent value for money along with safety and security. Our survey shows this French reputation for reasonable property prices still holds true, now more than ever,’ he adds.

A quarter of those questioned are looking to move to France to reduce financial pressure, with worries over fixed rate deals ending in the UK, debt and the effects of the sub-prime market scare.

‘In France, the situation regarding fixed rate mortgages is different,’ Mr Leggett explains. ‘The French have always preferred a fixed rate for the entire term of the loan, which generally are not available in the UK. And if you do find one, it can be very expensive. French people do not move as frequently as the British and tend to plan for the long term.’

Leggett Immobilier has witnessed strong levels of interest right up until the end of 2007, showing the slowdown in the UK market has not impacted upon demand abroad.

* Overseas property for sale