Can you buy a house in the South of France as a non-resident of the country? 


Naturally, buying property in France is a slightly more complicated process for non-residents than it is for a French resident – but the short answer to this question is yes. Currently there are no restrictions on non-EU residents, such as British or American buyers, buying a house in France.


However, there are many French laws, French taxes, French mortgages, and, of course, the French property market to get your head around before you commit to buying your dream home in France – whether to live in, rent out, or as an investment. 


This short guide will walk you through what you need to know about buying real estate in France as a non-resident. 

The French Property Market

Despite all the turmoil over the past two years, the housing market in France remains strong. House sales are once again on the rise, according to the latest figures from Global Property Guide (GPG) – existing home sales rose by 22.6% year-over-year last year, while new home sales rose 29%. 


Likewise, prices are going up, rising 5.85% during the first half of 2021 – suggesting that the tendency is for the market to remain strong. As Simon Frost, Communications Manager for Atlanta Construction, puts it in a recent interview for FrenchEntrée:


“House prices in France are going up – especially for the lower-priced properties. The values of the more expensive houses are pretty stable, but there is very strong demand – which is increasing – for properties priced under €200,000. On the positive side, land prices are relatively stable, especially on the outskirts of towns. However, prices are increasing in the centre of towns.


“If you are looking for a property close to the coast – be prepared to pay more! However, let’s not forget that house prices in France compared to other markets are extremely affordable. It’s an exciting time for sure.”

Image of graph showing French house price changes over the past 20 years


(Image source:


How Can You Buy a House in the South of France as a Non-Resident? 

The process of buying a house in France is much the same for residents and non-residents.


Though having a French bank account is not, strictly speaking, required, it will make your life easier both during the purchase process and later on when the time comes to start paying utility bills and local taxes. So, the first thing to do is find a French bank that will let you open an account. Non-residents are also able to get a French mortgage from a French bank. However, non-residents can expect the due diligence process to be a long, drawn-out affair before financing is approved. 


Read more: Insider’s Guide to French Mortgages


What is a requirement is the appointment of a notaire (notary). You will need to pay the notaire’s fees, which are controlled by the French Government and cover certain taxes as well as the fee itself. There is also the droits d’enregistrement (stamp duty) to pay, as well as land registry costs and tax d’habitation


Read more: What Are the Hidden Costs of Buying Property in the South of France? 

Residency Laws

Of course, an important consideration is the law when it comes to travelling to France to inspect your home pre-purchase – and visiting (or living in) it afterwards. 


There is a 90-day rule in France which states that tourists and visitors can spend 90 days out of every 180 days in the country (any EU country, in fact) without the need for a visa. If you want to stay longer, you will need to obtain a Long Stay visa. 


If you plan on moving to France permanently, you can apply for a carte de resident, which is a renewable permanent residence permit that lasts up to ten years (at which point you will need to reapply). 

Charles Mackintosh South of France Property Surveyor 

The process of buying a house in the South of France as a non-resident involves lots of paperwork and will take about three or four months to complete. Nonetheless, it is straightforward enough not to be off-putting for anyone wishing to own their own property in this glorious part of the world. 


For more information, get in touch with Charles Mackintosh. Having worked and lived in France for over 30 years, Charles provides highly regarded English language property surveys and advice for overseas buyers.