France still popular with the wealthyFrench property is a perennial favourite of investors and it seems the financial crisis has done little to dent the interest of the world's wealthiest buyers. According to the international outlook report from Beauchamp Estates, highly mobile, rich individuals are now expanding their portfolios, particularly in southern France, Property Community reported.
Among the most popular spots for investors are St Tropez, Cannes, Cap d'Antibes and Cap Ferrat on the French Riviera. In this area, there are currently 71,000 holiday homes held by foreign owners and between 2003 and 2009 there was significant growth in the local market. Over a period of six years, second home ownership in the French Riviera increased by 15 per cent, with Russian speakers dominating the sector.
The UK, Middle East and Scandinavia are also prominent in the region, the news portal revealed. Beauchamp Estates claims that demand for top-end properties is an important factor keeping French Riviera prices stable and high. Consequently, in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, property values are on average 82 per cent higher than the national average.
Beauchamps Estates believes that 2013 will see the region go from strength-to-strength, with the uncertainty of the election now behind the country. Monaco's tax advantages and financial environment is also expected to draw more people to the area.
However, the future isn't looking as bright for the rest of the country. According to the FNAIM, the organisation that represents estate agents in the country, sales fell across most regions in 2012. Real estate transactions dropped by 25 per cent, with Normandy and Brittany experiencing the most notable declines. Although prices increased by 0.8 per cent, there are also considerable regional variations.
The Il de France and Provence were some of the best performing areas, while lower Normandy and Brittany experienced significant price falls at 5.7 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively. Poitou Charentes (-4.4 per cent), Pays de la Loire (-3.3 per cent) and the Midi Pyrenees (-2.7 per cent) also witnessed price drops.