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French property is the most desirable for those looking to buy abroad, says new research

Savills International and have published research showing that France has replaced Spain as the top destination for UK buyers looking to buy overseas. The UK Second Homes Abroad Spotlight cites the stability of the French market, the less dramatic drop in house values compared with those seen in other overseas property hotspots, and proximity to the UK as key factors. Rebecca Gill, research analyst at Savills International and author of the report says: “I think one of the other important points is that buyers investing in the French second home market have tended to rely less on mortgage financing. As such, compared with other destinations, there have been fewer forced-sales in the downturn, contributing to price stability.”According to the research, the biggest reason for people buying in France was to continue letting it as an income generator. The report states: “More than half (55%) of our survey respondents said income generated from letting their property partially covered costs, helping them to mitigate against current global economic conditions. More interestingly, almost a third of respondents said that rental income completely covered their costs and 13% indicated it made them a comfortable profit. Other positive news shows that rental demand for holiday properties is on the increase, with 43% of owners saying that 2010 saw growth in lettings compared to 2009. An additional 39% of owners said the market had stabilised showing similar returns to the previous year.”

The report cites indicators such as figures from the World Travel Organisation, which suggest that, in 2011, tourism is expected to be up between 4% and 5% on 2011. Indeed, for 2010, the World Travel Organisation state that France was the most popular country for tourism, with 78.95 million visitors.

This research follows hot on the heels of the annual figures from overseas mortgage specialist, Conti. These show that France is the most popular country among its customers for the third year running.

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