Rich pickings for UK buyers in France


France is number one for wealthy Brits planning a move abroad

A new survey reveals an increase in the number of wealthy Britons considering a move overseas. And, for the UK’s financial elite, France is the top choice when it comes to destinations for that new life abroad.

The research from Lloyds TSB International Wealth surveyed people with over �250,000 of savings and investments. It shows that 17% of them would like to move overseas in the next two years, compared with 14% six months ago.

Fear of crime is a significant factor, with 61% of those actively considering an overseas move selecting crime and anti-social behaviour as a reason to leave the UK. This figure was at 43% six months earlier, with August’s riots across England being cited as a contributing factor in the rise. High taxes and the cost of living are also major influences.

And France is the most popular country for those wealthy people who’d like to move abroad, with 21% selecting the country as their most likely destination. Spain took second place with 15%, followed by the USA with 11%. Nicholas Boys Smith, ,managing director of Lloyds TSB International Wealth, says of the kinds of wealthy Brits who are moving to France: “Most people hoping to move to France are planning retirement, near retirement or retired, with 64% aged 55 or over.”

Meanwhile, according to the report, Investing & Living Abroad by French bank, BNP Paribas, real estate brokers have noticed an increase in high-profile foreign customers, saying: “The financial profile of the customers has improved. They have more financial resources… They have more of their own funding available.”

The report also finds that buyers from the UK account for 11% of the buyers in France. This puts Brits in third place behind the Portuguese and the French themselves, in a market that is pulling itself back up after la crise. The total number of transactions in 2010 was up 21% on 2009.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report found that Brits were the most active buyers in Aquitaine in 2010, accounting for 20% of the market.

Indeed, it would appear that this is a trend that is being echoed well into 2011, according to the latest Search Report from property portal Rightmove Overseas. There has been a surge of interest in France. Dordogne in particular has enjoyed a huge hike in popularity, with its searches up by 43% in a month. Head of Rightmove Overseas, Shameem Golamy, says that this surge in interest is “fuelled no doubt by the popularity of the TV series, Little England, which showcases Brits living permanently in the area. Other French areas that have done are the Midi-Pyr�n�es, Lot-et-Garonne and Charente-Maritime.”

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