BNP Paribas research shows that French Property appeals to international house buyers with a 21% growth in 2010

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The third "investing & living abroad" survey by BNP Paribas has just been released and shows that the sale of French property to international property buyers increased by 21% in 2010, from 42,300 in 2009 to 51,200 last year.

Leggett Immobilier ( is one of the leading international estate agencies in France and Chief Executive, Trevor Leggett, has the following comment on the French property market:

"This healthy increase in transaction numbers is sure to attract some eye catching headlines and it does sit comfortably alongside our own view of the French property market, where enquiry levels and sales figures are both up on last year. This is primarily down to the sensible pricing levels adopted by sellers who realise that economic turmoil and tightened lending conditions still abound.

However, we must point out that this sharp rise in international buyers follows an equally sharp fall (21%) in 2009 and it is important that French estate agents and vendors alike understand that they must continue to value and market houses at sensible levels.

Some of the underlying figures are most interesting. For example, there is a significant increase (6%) in the average transaction amount up to €238,000, fuelled largely by the Ile de France housing market. We too have found that buyers are spending more and we have been particularly active at the top end of the market on the Cote d'Azur and other prime areas of French real estate.

Similarly, it's important to look at where these buyers are coming from. It's clear that the rise in ex-pat French nationals coming home is going to continue while UK buyers have consolidated their position as the 3rd largest market (behind the Portugal and France). Russian and Asian buyers remain small in terms of transaction numbers but continue to generate headlines due to the size and glamour of their purchases.

The real trend seems to be the overall decrease in buyers of property in France from western Europe in favour of a marked increase from "new world" countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA. The great news for Leggett Immobilier and other French estate agents here is that BNP Paribas describe these buyers as "approachable, trusting and easier to please."

We too have found that French property attracted interest from all over the world in 2010 - in the last 12 months our website has attracted visitors from 171 different countries with the USA and Australia showing increases of 52% and 33% in visitor numbers respectively.

Finally, there is one other issue that I think stands out in this report and is worth highlighting.

It is the rise of the high net worth (HNW) individual. It's clear from the statistics that there are an increasing number of people who have their own funding and often own real estate in more than one country.

Indeed, the recent Knight Frank Wealth Report surveyed 5,000 HNW's with an average wealth of $100 million - the findings clearly showed that real estate is their most important investment making up an average of 35% of their portfolios.

This trend will continue to rise and France has an abundance of properties that will appeal to these people. Whether it's a coastal property on the Cote d'Azur, a chateau & vineyard in Bordeaux or a house in the centre of Paris we can offer a quality of stock that no other country in the world can match.

In summary, transaction levels are back to 2008 levels but the make up of these international buyers has seen a subtle shift. International real estate buyers are increasingly turning to advisors who can offer a national network & level of support backed up with local expertise."

About Leggett Immobilier.

Leggett is an independent, family run business based in France with a network of over 120 fully trained commercial agents covering most of the country. Leggett offers an unrivalled mixture of local knowledge and national expertise, professional service and full after sales support. The Leggett webite lists over 6450 French properties.


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