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Brexit: As it says on my mug “keep calm and carry on”!

Tagged with: ARTICLES, Property

Adrian Lithgow, Director, Agence Eleonor, Issigeac

Adrian Lithgow, Director, Agence Eleonor, Issigeac, tells us that, if the past two years have taught us anything, it is that the predictions of experts are often not as accurate as they would like to think.

The newspapers have daily horror stories about the collapse of the UK after Brexit on March 29th, with food and medical supply shortages, logistical meltdown and crying in the streets.

Only for us to be told, in the next edition, that it will mean a huge boost to UK finances as the country brokers new trade deals around the world, and rids itself of the yoke of EU serfdom.

Is a change afoot on the property front?

Whatever happens it is unlikely that one of the main reasons people come to live in France will change – the huge gap in property prices between the UK and here.

It will always be an attractive proposition for people to sell up in Britain, pay off their mortgage and buy a French property for two-thirds or even half the price they would have to pay for the equivalent at home.

At the time of writing, the UK Parliament is at loggerheads with the Government over “Deal or No Deal”. In either event it has been signalled, quite strongly, by the French Government, the EU and indeed the UK that nothing drastic affecting our lives here will happen in the short term.

While I am confident that the status of UK expats already established in France will remain little altered, the concern is how the post-Brexit landscape may change for those arriving after.

Then there are suggestions that the pound could devalue by a further ten per cent, putting pressure on fixed incomes. Together this could see fewer Brits wanting to come here, with consequences for house prices.

This is a situation no-one wants, be they English or French. As a notaire told me recently, if there is a big decrease in the number of British buyers he will have to close his business.

So now for my own predictions.

  1. House prices will remain stable as long as the Eurozone stays out of recession.
  2. UK buyers will be cautious until confidence improves in the summer when people realise the world has not greatly changed, and holiday makers make their way back over the Channel.
  3. The pound will decrease immediately after Brexit, increasing the value of your home in Euros, before recovering value later in the year.
  4. The British will still love to come and live in France for its huge lifestyle opportunities, and the French government will act to ensure that they do.
  5. In around a year and a half we will be wondering what all the fuss was about.

I hope I am right.


First published in the March/April 2019 issue of The Local Buzz.

Images: Agence Eleonor and Shutterstock