What is important when buying property in South of France

Buying property in the South of France is a dream come true for many Brits looking for the perfect holiday home abroad, or for somewhere hot and idyllic – yet relatively close by – to retire to permanently. 


However, there a number of things that need to be taken into careful consideration before signing on the dotted line. That’s why we’ve put together this short guide detailing what you need to know when buying property in the South of France.


Let’s dive in.

Buying Property in the South of France: Is Now a Good Time to Buy? 

The real estate market in France is on the up. As reported in Long Term Rentals in France, the latest statistics show that property prices in France rose by an average of +5.8% during 2020 (+7.0% for apartments and +4.9% for houses), and are forecast to grow another 3.5% during 2021.


That said, Iconic Riviera reports that, according to in-depth market analysis, the majority of villa properties (note: on the French Riviera, houses are referred to as “villas”) are currently “listed at unrealistic prices and are sitting on the market until the seller lowers the price”. This is particularly true for properties in the €1 million+ price range, it adds.


The analysis reports that the average selling price is around 40% under the original asking price. As such, in 2021, the South of France is a buyer’s market – which potentially bodes well when it comes to negotiations. 

Brexit and Taxes

Another reason real estate prices are expected to get cheaper in 2021 and 2022 is that the French government is cracking down on vacation homes and rentals – with the explicit objective of making real estate more affordable. New tax laws were introduced this year which have increased rental income tax from 17% to 40% for people who have annual rental income exceeding €23,000. So, if you’re considering a buy-to-let investment, know that it is an endeavour that is not as lucrative now as it once was. 


Other important factors for UK-based buy-to-let landlords to consider is that non-EU citizens (which, following Brexit, now includes Brits) can only stay in France for up to 90 days per year, and will have to pay more tax on rental income, as well as other new taxes

Beware Listings 

Overseas buyers can often be caught out by inflated or inaccurate numbers concerning the size of the property. Listings often reveal the number of rooms (pieces) a property has and its m2 of space. However, as Iconic Riviera warns, “Frequently, we see the m2 of a villa inflated by 50% to 100%, and sometimes as much as 200%! In theory this is not allowed, but in reality, agents do not get punished for false advertising in France.”


It also notes that each main room is considered a “piece” in advertisements, so something listed as a “4-piece” may only have 2 bedrooms – so be sure to double-check with the selling agent. 

Fees and Mortgages

You may also be wondering what additional fees you can expect to pay when buying property in the South of France, and how expensive or difficult it is to get a mortgage in the region. We’ve covered these items in detail in previous posts, so please also see:

Charles Mackintosh South of France Property Surveyor 

For more information on the important things to know when buying property in the South of France, get in touch with South of France property surveyor Charles Mackintosh. With over 30 years’ experience living and operating in the region, Charles provides highly regarded English language property advice and surveys for British buyers.