Buying Property and Real Estate in France in 2024

Originally posted on & updated on 11th February, 2024

Here’s your comprehensive guide to successfully finding and buying your French property in 2024, designed to help second-home buyers and investors into this new year. As you embark on your French adventure, staying abreast of the latest market trends and regulations is crucial to making informed decisions and securing your dream home with maximum efficiency.

Our Guide to Buying in France this Year

In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know about buying property in France this year, including exploring the current state of the market, real estate trends, popular areas, advice and tips for a stress-free experience.

This guide will provide you with important information about the process of buying French property. It includes tips for finding the right property, understanding the legal aspects of buying property, and managing the costs associated with purchasing a property in France.

Whether you’re looking for a holiday home, an investment property, or a permanent residence, purchasing property in France can be a rewarding experience for the whole family. However, navigating the local market can be quite different from what you may be accustomed to in your home country. By following these guidelines, you can make a well-informed decision and ensure a smooth and successful property purchase.

The Housing Market

Before diving into the nitty-gritty details of the buying process, it’s important to understand the current state of the French housing market.

Record Sales

In the wake of the pandemic, the French market experienced a few years of prosperity, boosted by record-low interest rates and high sales. However, in 2023, the market contracted due to a combination of factors. Domestic sales slowed down due to higher lending rates and the increased cost of living, mostly driven by the war in Ukraine.

ECB Rates Expected to Fall

The French government has started to roll out new financial measures to provide the real estate sector a much-needed boost while anticipating a reduction in interest rates. The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to start cutting its record-high rates soon after, surprisingly, keeping the rate at 4% in January. Christine Lagarde justifies her policy to continue fighting inflation, adding that the EU is moving in the right direction with what she’s called “disinflation”.

These measures could have implications for the whole property market, i.e., the influx of properties and increased sales as confidence returns to the banks and buyers. However, the government aims to support first-time buyers and young families, who traditionally invest in new properties, new-built villas, or apartments near towns with all amenities and schools.

Last Year’s Sales

The year 2023 concluded with a significant decline in the number of property sales in France, which was about 21% lower than the previous year, with only 875,000 sales recorded. The slow real estate market in France has led to a decline in property prices and a shortage of properties available for sale or rent. Despite this, the situation has created opportunities for buyers and investors to invest in the French property market.

Beautiful French Beaches

French Real Estate Trends

As we look ahead, several real estate trends are expected to shape the French property market. The French property market has remained stable, thanks to the continuous demand from both domestic and international buyers. However, non-cash buyers have found it challenging to enter the market due to high interest rates and unfavourable borrowing conditions.

One of the notable trends is the increasing popularity of eco-friendly and sustainable properties. With growing awareness about environmental issues, buyers are seeking homes that are energy-efficient and built with sustainable materials. Properties with green certifications and features like solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems will likely be in high demand.

Another trend that seems set to continue in 2024, following the success of the RWC rugby world last year and the Olympic games coming to Paris in the summer, is the purchase from investors seeking rental returns and a base in the heart of Europe. BBC Sport reports that British fans have bought half a million tickets for this summer’s Olympics, more than any country other than France, according to Paris 2024 chief executive Etienne Thobois. Read our French property market report about why this year will be a key year for French Tourism. We also examine why income-generating properties such as French gîtes or B&Bs in rural areas and small towns will attract more buyers in coming years.

Factors to Consider

When buying property in France, there are several factors that you need to take into consideration. Firstly, it’s important to define your objectives and determine whether you’re buying the property for personal use, investment, or both. This will help you narrow down your search and make informed decisions throughout the buying process.

Secondly, research is critical; start learning about the different regions and cities in France, their property markets, and the amenities they offer. Consider factors such as climate, proximity to transportation, healthcare facilities, schools, and recreational activities. This will enable you to identify the areas that align with your lifestyle and preferences.

Finally, it’s crucial to set a budget and secure your financing in advance. Consider not only the purchase price of the property but also additional costs such as taxes, legal fees, and maintenance expenses. Consult with a financial advisor or mortgage broker to explore your financing options and ensure that you’re well-prepared financially. For example, if you are purchasing your property with a French mortgage or are planning to make regular pension payments, your transfers could be exposed to the fluctuation of exchange rates. Visit our currency page for more information about saving serious cash on international transfers.

Legal Requirements and the Buying Process

Buying property in France involves a legal process that may differ from your home country. It’s essential to familiarise yourself with the legal requirements to ensure a smooth and successful transaction.

The process of purchasing a property begins when you have visited a property with one of our agents and made an offer. Once your offer has been accepted, the property will be taken off the market, and our local bilingual expert will communicate with you and the Notaire. The owner/vendor is responsible for carrying out the necessary searches and paying for them at this stage. Here are the key steps involved in buying property in France:

Sign the Compromis de Vente

Once you have found your ideal property, you will need to sign a preliminary sales agreement called the “Compromis de Vente.” This pre-contract outlines the terms and conditions of the purchase, including the purchase price, deposit, and timeline for completion.

Secure Financing

If you require financing, it’s important to obtain a mortgage offer from a French bank or a lender familiar with the French market. Ensure that you have the necessary documents and meet the eligibility criteria before proceeding with the purchase.

Additional Considerations Before Completion

Make arrangements for your fund transfer to the Notaire ahead of time to secure a favourable exchange rate and save money in the process. You will be asked to provide an “attestation d’assurance” as proof of suitable buildings and contents insurance for the property before the keys are handed out to you. Insurance is mandatory in France.

Completion and Transfer of Ownership

On the agreed completion date, you will sign the final deed of sale, known as the “Acte de Vente”, in the presence of the Notary. This document legally transfers the ownership of the property to you, and you will be required to pay the remaining balance and associated fees.

Popular Regions for Overseas Buyers

France offers a diverse range of regions and provinces, each with its unique charm and appeal. Here are some of the most popular choices :

Glamourous Riviera

The French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, is synonymous with luxury and glamour. This sun-soaked region is home to glamorous cities like Nice, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez. With its stunning beaches, Mediterranean climate, and vibrant nightlife, the Riviera is a desirable location for property buyers, with many retirees looking for warm weather, Mediterranean lifestyle and cuisine, leisure and sports activities, superb shopping, and amazing properties. Add to this the proximity to the beaches, ski slopes in winter and a well-established international airport (Nice), and it’s easy to see why the Riviera appeals to so many international buyers. Discover our comprehensive selection of properties for sale on the Cote d’Azur.

Eternal Provence

Eternal Provence

Provence is a beautiful region situated in the south of France. It boasts of picturesque landscapes dotted with lavender fields, vineyards, and charming hilltop villages. The region is renowned for its laid-back lifestyle, delectable cuisine, and exceptional wines. Aix-en-Provence and Avignon are two popular cities in Provence that are worth a visit. Finally, a visit to Provence would not be complete without a trip to one of the many lavender fields of the region. Browse through our selection of properties for sale in Provence.

Contrasting Occitanie

Occitanie benefits from a variety of the most contrasting landscapes, with the picturesque beaches lapped by the Mediterranean Sea in the east and mountainous, rocky landscapes further to the west. Occitanie offers a beautiful setting for those passionate about the outdoors – from skiing to bike rides, hiking to natural spas, rafting to paragliding - the region has it all. Browse our extensive selection of properties in Occitanie.

Historic Normandy

Normandy holds a special place in the hearts of British holidaymakers and ex-pats, and its popularity extends beyond its accessibility. For many travellers crossing the Channel by ferry, Normandy is their first experience of France, and they often perceive it as a place where time seems to have stood still. The vast open spaces, apple orchards, and golden sandy beaches with dunes remind them of days gone by in England. The weather in the region is typically cooler than the south of France, like that of Britain, and there are many competitively priced properties for sale in Normandy.

Chateaux life in the Dordogne

Forever Dordogne

The Dordogne was renamed after the French Revolution and features hundreds of chateaux scattered across this rural department, one of the largest in France. The traditional roofs of Perigourdine properties add to the region’s charm and provide a serene retreat during the summer months. Dordogne is a popular destination for holidaymakers and second-home owners due to its leisurely pace of life, picturesque views, locally produced cuisine and wine, and warm and sunny weather. Browse through our selection of properties in this popular area of Nouvelle Aquitaine.

Reach Alpine Gold

The French Alps are well known for their natural beauty and offer various outdoor activities throughout the year, including top-notch ski resorts. During the 2018-2019 season, French ski resorts in the Alps welcomed over 55 million skiing enthusiasts, making it the second-highest number worldwide. This feat results from a combination of perfect natural conditions and mountain ranges. Recently, it was announced that the Alpine region will be hosting the Winter Olympics in 2030. Discover our selection of ski apartments and chalets in the French Alps.

Paris, City of Love and Lights

Paris, City of Love and Lights

The capital city of France needs no introduction, Paris is renowned for its iconic landmarks, world-class museums, and vibrant culture. Buying property in Paris can be a lucrative investment, particularly in sought-after neighbourhoods such as Le Marais and Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The city is preparing to host the Olympic Games this year, and rental property and Airbnb prices are going through the roof and will continue to do so well until the summer. For buyers and families looking to purchase in a specific district or close to a school, look at our comprehensive bespoke property-finding service for Paris and the whole Ile-de-France region.

Buying New-Build or Off-Plan

In France, purchasing a property off-plan from a developer is known as VEFA, which stands for ‘vente en l’état futur d’achèvement’. This method is strictly regulated. There are numerous advantages to buying a new or off-plan property. Modern buildings are designed to be energy-efficient and sustainable, to reduce energy costs, limit environmental impact, and comply with the latest environmental regulations. Take a look at our blog article to learn more and to see our VEFA and off-plan properties in France.

Tips for Finding your Dream House in 2024

Finding the perfect French property requires careful planning and research. Here are some tips to help you in your property search:

Work with a Reputable Estate Agent

Working with a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent specialising in the French property market can save you time and provide valuable insights. They can help you navigate the market, identify suitable properties, and negotiate on your behalf.

Visit the Properties in Person

While online research is a great starting point, it’s essential to visit the properties you’re interested in. This will give you a better sense of the location, neighbourhood, and condition of the property. Take your time and explore the area to ensure it meets your expectations.

Working with Estate Agents and Realtors in France

When buying property in France, working with a reputable real estate agent can make a significant difference in your journey. Here are the main benefits of working with a real estate agent in France:

Local Expertise

Real estate agents have in-depth knowledge of the local property market, including current trends, pricing, and legal requirements. They can provide valuable insights and guide you through the buying process.

Access a Wide Choice of Properties

Real estate agents have access to a vast network of properties, including off-market listings through their local connections. They can help you find properties that match your criteria and arrange viewings to save you time and money.

Negotiation Skills

Real estate agents are skilled professionals, they can negotiate on your behalf to secure the best possible price and terms. Their expertise can help you avoid common pitfalls to ensure a fair and successful transaction.

Post-Purchase Support

A good real estate agent will provide ongoing support even after the purchase is complete. They can assist with various post-purchase services such as property management and renovations and connect you with local service providers, sometimes for furniture, to assist in finding a car dealership and or insurance services.

Turning your Dream into Reality

Buying property in France can be a fulfilling and exciting adventure. By understanding the market trends, and legal requirements and considering important factors, you can navigate the French property market with confidence. Remember to conduct thorough research and visit properties in person to find the perfect property that meets your exact needs.

Turning your Dream into Reality

We appreciate it’s a lot of information to take in if you are discovering the property buying process in France for the first time and provide below a list of essential links to various guides and resources on our award-winning portal.

We hope our buyers’ guide is helpful, thank you for considering MY-FRENCH-HOUSE for your property search. Please contact us if you’re ready to turn your dream into reality.

Additional Guides and Resources

French Buying Guide

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