Hand holding house with keys to represent property in France

Leaving the European Union will not affect a British citizen’s right to buy property in France – plenty of non-EU nationals own property in France.

Theoretically, however, the French could make certain areas out of bounds to to non-EU buyers – if there is a housing shortage for local people, for example. But even were this to happen, it would be more likely to affect the super rich looking for a pied à terre in Paris or on the Riviera than average-income Brits looking for a rural property.

Indeed there are so many traditional stone properties on the market at the moment that France almost relies on the British to buy them. Certainly there is no reason to believe that France would want to discourage Britons from renovating old houses.

There are some 3 million empty properties in France, compared to 700,000 in the UK, and the French continue to build new properties at an astonishing rate.

As a post-Brexit, non-EU, buyer you will still have access to French euro mortgages and French banks show every sign that they will want to continue  lending to the British. The difference will be that you will have access to only 60-65% of the purchase price rather than the current 80% available to EU citizens. Local taxes and capital gains tax are the same for EU and non-EU residents.

Before Britain joined the EEC, British buyers had to have permission from the Banque de France before investing in French property. This, or other administrative requirements, could be introduced but this will probably depend on what agreements Britain negotiates with other EU countries after Article 50 is triggered.

Once the British are no longer EU nationals, France could also try to reintroduce the controversial ‘social charges’ on Brits renting out second homes in France but which were ruled illegal by the Court of European Justice. This would no longer be illegal post-Brexit.

In reality, apart from the size of French mortgage you will be able get, probably nothing will change vis a vis your rights to buy property – and talk of the British needing visas to travel to France is pure scaremongering: France is unlikely to do anything that affects its substantial tourist trade.

Holiday-home buyers have little to worry about. For those who want to buy to move to France, it is continuing access to work and healthcare that are the main considerations, not lack of access to French properties.

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