Aquitaine becomes latest French hot spot

Mortgages for British buyers up by 40 per cent since last year

While France remains a hot favourite amongst overseas property buyers, the Aquitaine region is quickly becoming the region of choice for Britons, according to Conti, the overseas mortgage specialist.

In recent years, the most popular regions have been Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) and Rhône-Alpes. And while these are still a big hit with British buyers, it’s Aquitaine which has experienced the most growth in interest since this time last year, with mortgages for the region up by 40 per cent. Over the last few months alone, it has accounted for almost a third of Conti’s mortgage completions.

In these challenging economic times, it seems that investors are shunning the emerging property markets where we saw a flurry of activity just a few years ago, and putting their trust in the more established destinations, especially those with history of providing good rental returns. And no more so than in France, where a well-chosen investment could generate a very attractive and secure return over the long term.

The country currently accounts for 37 per cent of the mortgage enquiries Conti receives, up by 24 per cent since 2008.

Clare Nessling, Director at Conti, says: “Aquitaine has really come into its own recently. The Dordogne in particular has always been a favourite, especially as it has a long-established expat community, which is of great importance to many British buyers. But it also has a great climate, a huge range of property types, and is well served by a number of UK airports. And although it has historically carried a higher price tag, there are lots of good deals around at the moment, due to a slower market, which means that there are many motivated vendors who are willing to accept lower offers.”

Conti says that against the volatility of the British market, French property is seen as an increasingly solid investment option over the long term. It’s also affordable. Rates currently start from just 2.09 per cent, and mortgage availability is still generally very good. And while French property hasn’t been reduced to bargain basement prices, it generally remains well under UK averages, with plenty to choose from within a budget.