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Brexit ahead: all change on the moving to France front?

Sep 20. 2018


As a mainstay at the France Show and the French Property Shows and frequent contributors to the associated Archant France publications; we have of course noted a discernible change in the behaviours and preoccupations of those planning to make the move to France since Brexit has been announced, but has this made people more reticent to plunge for a new life in France or have they become more focussed and committed to pursuing the dream and making the move? With the March deadline looming, we reflect on how Brexit is shaping the market for French moves.

When Brexit was first announced, we only had one potential customer that made the decision to remain in the UK rather than make the move to France. For the subsequent few months, we did then experience a slight lull in French enquiries. However, we found that 18 months ago there was a discernible increase in those making the move to France. We have observed that if people have made the decision to pursue the French lifestyle they will do it and make the move anyway. This positivity has continued to be reflected at the French Property Show; customers we spoke to at the Olympia event, last weekend, were all positive about their plans and those who had chosen to attend the event had definite plans in place and were committed to making the move.

Our Sales Consultant, Jake Heaton observed: “As the end of March 2019 deadline is on the horizon, it is noticeable that those planning the move are beginning to organise their move into either a pre-Brexit move, to be settled in France before the deadline, or are opting to wait for the Brexit deadline to pass and make the move once the Brexit implications begin to be rolled out.”

On a practical note we are advising our customers, with immediate effect, whether moving to or from France, that our quote is only valid based on the move being completed by 29th March 2019; Brexit Day. As Chris Burke advises: “Until we know the outcome of the negotiations between the UK Government and the EU we have to assume that future moves may revert back to paying for customs clearance and the issuing of “T” forms which will incur additional charges.”

We were, once again, in great company at the French Property Show in Olympia with Matthew Cameron of Ashtons Legal Solicitors, advising on the legal implications of buying, selling and owning property in France. Matthew commented that: “my seminar was well attended and many clients were approaching me after the seminar”. Steve Gillham of Alliance; French property agents concluded that he’d had excellent enquiries throughout the two days.

This exhibition also allowed us to meet up with Paul Allen of Argu’s Immobilier, property agents situated in the Vienne, who said that he had so many customers to speak to, he’d barely had chance for a glass of wine! Whilst Carolyn Pratt and Laurence Adeline-Ostrowski of Idimmo/ Prestige and Chateaux decided to opt for a larger stand at the exhibition to benefit even more from the interest generated by the show. Furthermore, Rob Dixon from Villas in Languedoc was very positive about the exhibition and the market in general, as was Joanne Leggett of Leggett Immobilier, who had plenty of people around her stand. Cle Rouge’s Immobilier, Jerry Green provided a very informative and entertaining seminar.

Our current enquiries for France are significantly up on what they were back in 2016. We’re as busy with French enquires as we’ve ever been. Gary Burke, Managing Director, added: “There is a natural concern amongst some Brits as to whether Brexit will affect healthcare, tax and pensions, but realistically we won’t know the effect of Brexit until we look back retrospectively. Life is short and we have really found that particularly people in their 50s and 60s are just getting on with it and making the move.

Equally, in terms of moving people back from France, we have certainly not witnessed a mass exodus. We still see the circle of life with our customers and bring people back for their own reasons; they sometimes return due to bereavement, ill health or to be with younger members of their family.”

So it seems that those who are committed to opting for the French move are doing so with ever greater resolve, despite fluctuations in the political landscape and we look forward to helping more dedicated to pursuing the French dream over the coming months and beyond. Our Sales Manager, Ben Hingley concluded: “It will be interesting to see what the January France Show will bring prior to the March Brexit deadline.”

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