It’s the story that is still dominating all the headlines, but - with Britain set to officially leave the European Union on Friday 29 March 2019 – what effect is Brexit having on investment in overseas property?
A number of property experts in Austria and France have offered up their opinions on the latest state of play.
British investors eager to purchase a ski property in the Austrian Alps will have been left reassured by a recent tweet from Karin Kneissl, the Austrian Minister for Europe, Integration & Foreign Affairs. On her Twitter account last month, she announced that – whatever the outcome of Brexit – British citizens living in Austria can rest assured that they will still be welcome and their rights protected.
While insisting that an orderly Brexit is essential, she insisted that Brits were ‘a valuable addition to our country and we want you to stay!’.
Branson Atterbury, marketing director of alpine property specialist Kristall Spaces, agreed that little will change post-Brexit.
“The Austrians want to keep the status quo,” he said. “There are 2.5 times more Austrians living in the UK than Brits in Austria and we are one of their largest tourism markets. Should a UK buyer’s status in Austria change once we have left the EU, non-EU citizens may buy Austrian properties through limited companies with a registered office inside the EU.”
Meanwhile, Marco Bonini, head of international sales at Allea Group, said UK buyers were one of the company’s key target audiences.
“Austria remains an attractive destination due to the comparably low property prices to French and Swiss resorts as well as regular direct flights,” he said. “Anyone who’s still in doubt about the impact of Brexit should get into the Land Registry before 29 March as their ownership status cannot be reversed thereafter.”
According to Tim Swannie, director of French buying agent Home Hunts, there has been a huge increase in the number of UK-based enquiries for people looking to buy a home in France recently.
“We have seen a large number of UK based enquiries looking to buy a home in France,” he said.
“These have been from three main groups - families looking to relocate and find a property with income, UK retirees who are looking to relocate to France permanently, and a wide range of enquiries from UK clients looking to buy a holiday home so they have a base in France.”
He said The Riviera and the Alps had, so far, been most popular for those looking for holiday homes, while Dordogne, Languedoc and Provence were most appealing for those looking to live permanently, ‘with a few on the Riviera too’.
He also said Paris has seen a recent spike in interest from British buyers.