France fights Spain for British property buyers

France is fighting Spain to become the number one hotspot for British property buyers.

Spain continues to top the list of overseas property hot spots, according to Conti, the overseas mortgage specialist. The country accounted for 40 per cent of enquiries received by the company over the third quarter of 2015, and almost half (46 per cent) of those received over January to September this year.

Hot on its heels, however, is France, which took a 38 per cent share of enquiries over the third quarter and 32 per cent over the course of the year so far.

In fact, France overtook Spain during August and September with 46 per cent of enquiries compared to 31 per cent.

Clare Nessling, director at Conti, says: “There’s no doubt that Spain’s appeal was tarnished following the property crash which saw prices in some of the most desirable areas fall by up to 50 per cent. But, following a nightmarish few years, the property market is on the up at last and British investors are regaining confidence in real estate and rediscovering their love for the sights and sounds of this beautiful country.

“Although the French property market has remained a lot [steadier] than Spain’s, many investors have been holding off on their purchasing plans to see what happens with property prices in France, which are now expected to stabilise and then begin a slow increase, which is good news for anyone thinking of entering the market now.”

In third position is Portugal, where more upbeat economic news and attractive property prices have provided a boost to investors’ confidence and this is leading to an increasing number of buyers coming back to the market; over the third quarter it accounted for almost a fifth (19 per cent) of enquiries, and 16 per cent over January to September.

According to Conti, it’s an ideal time to be buying in all three locations, with the strong pound shedding tens of thousands of pounds off property prices across the board.

More savvy borrowers fix as mortgage rates start to rise

The popularity of fixed mortgage rates has reached new heights, according to the Mortgage Advice Bureau, as borrowers increasingly look to lock into fixed rates while mortgage pricing remains low. September is the second successive month in which 96 per cent of homebuyers opted for fixed rates, which is the largest proportion since the Bank of England’s base rate was lowered to 0.5 per cent in 2009.