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The French Property Network

What could a Brexit mean for me?

With the EU Referendum approaching we thought we would collect a few news stories and insights on the potential outcome and effects on you buying a property in an EU member country, specifically France.

We will publish regular updates here in our "News in General" Blog pages on the Cle France website to keep you up to speed.

EU Referendum June 23rd 2016

We will be at the height of the summer when June 23rd comes by, some of you will have already been on your summer holidays but most will still be looking forward to them. This year, however, June 23rd is when Britain will decide whether to remain a member of the EU or vote to leave the European community of which it has been a member since way back in 1973.

Should I be worried?

Not at all, if the "NO" campaign win the changes will be very very slow to implement and it may all be a bit of a 'storm in a tea-cup'. Keep an eye on the news and an eye on the Cle France blog pages for updates but, of course, no one will know what the result is until after the vote. The issue has almost split the Conservative Party in two and united cross party allegiance groups for and against. At the moment the pollsters suggest the result for the ‘IN’ campaign, although of course we have to take such polls carefully following the General Election last May when they got is so wrong.

EU Referendum blogs

NOTE: If you have lived abroad for less than 15 years, you are eligible to vote in the referendum on June  23rd.

Politicians and experts are not even sure what would happen if the UK were to depart from the EU, it is likely there would be a period of about 2 years to organise new arrangements and new agreements, it may take longer, but one thing is for certain nothing will really change overnight.

Should I still move to France?

It was way back in 2013 when David Cameron, the Prime Minister, promised to hold a referendum on Europe IF the Conservatives were to hold onto power in the 2015 General Election, which of course they did. Since then we have seen a record year with an estimated 780,000 sales made in 2015, as noted by the FNAIM - French National Association of Estate Agents.

Buyers have certainly not been hanging around, they have been making the most of current market conditions: great exchange rates, great mortgage rates and low property prices.

Would Brexit stop me buying a house in France?

No. If the UK were to leave the EU it would not stop you from buying your dream home in France or anywhere in Europe, think about it.... many non-EU buyers from as far away destinations as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and China already buy in France without a problem. In fact today [3rd March 2016] we sold a house in Normandy to an Australian couple.

The "uncertainty" is around issues such as tax arrangements, mortgages and of course the weakening of the pound.

One thing is clear and that is during these times, similar to the Scottish Yes / No campaign there is an air of uncertainty and this will no doubt be fuelled by any further comments from the Brexit brigade, this effect could seriously cause the cost of your property purchase to increase significantly, so for this reason many clients have purchased their euros in advance.

This method is called a 'Forward contract' and by doing this with FC Exchange it means you can fix your exchange rate for up to two years in advance, so you’ll know exactly how much you’ll get when you make your international money transfer. This makes budgeting a great deal easier and a lot of stress is removed.

What about the Tax Implications?

Tax arrangements will depend on the details in the negotiations and in the period after the referendum, although remember there is already a double-tax agreement that will remain unchanged, so at least we know that you will never be taxed twice on your income! that is good news for sure.

The pound could drop in value on the run up to the referendum due to the uncertainty and instability, currency and trade markets do not like uncertainty and instability and this will always disrupt the markets to some extent. Although once the outcome of the referendum has been reached, the markets should have confidence to level out and steady.

The trick for you if planning to buy a house in France or even sell your French property is to get the timing right for your currency exchange.

What about getting a French Mortgage?

Looking towards the mortgage issue, no one can be totally sure what an EU Brexit would mean and involve in relation to future borrowing options. Non-EU citizens are subject to more stringent conditions when securing mortgages, for example they have to provide a larger deposit. Although it is worth considering that the Swiss and the Finnish borrowers (these are of course non EU members) are tied to similar processes to secure a mortgage as EU member borrowers, thanks to the special agreements in place.

I think we can be optimistic for a similar arrangement for British clients.

Cle Mortgages

What if I am already living in France?

You will be able to continue to enjoy life in France in much the same way. Since Britain has never been part of the Schengen agreement, there has always been passport control when travelling between EU countries, this will not change, it is highly unlikely that France would ever impose visa restrictions on British citizens.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have lived abroad for less than 15 years, you are eligible to vote in the referendum on 23rd June.

So, you have already made the move and found your dream home in France [with Cle France we hope] then along with thousands of other expats, the result either way won't make much difference to your everyday enjoyment of life in France. Even if Britain becomes a European Economic Area (EEA) member, just like Norway and Iceland [who are already members] then you can expect tax arrangements with EU countries to remain basically the same, though there could be some restrictions to social payments. As EEA members the retention of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card giving access to healthcare will at the same rate as a local French person.

PHEW! in conclusion, what next?

We have studied this issue many times and will do many more times so keep an eye on our "News in General" blog pages for updates but whichever way the UK votes on 23rd June, we at Cle France don’t believe that the British interest in buying French property will slow, nor do we believe that your dream of owning a property in France will become difficult or not viable.

At the moment nothing has changed of course and if the people of the UK vote to stay in then very little will change for at least a generation or two, even if Britain did leave Europe it wouldn’t stop Brits buying and living on mainland Europe. Sharon and David at Cle France lived and worked in France during the 1980's and 1990's when you had to 'jump through many hoops' before it was the 'free movement' we enjoy at the moment, they also lived in France from 1999 up to 2012 full time and at the start of that period you could not just 'arrive' you had to prove income and that you could 'support yourself financially' so going back to that type of scenario won't happen overnight, all it will really mean is a bit more paperwork!

Brits have always bought property as holiday homes and lived full time in France, Spain and other European countries before the formation of the EU and even if there is a Brexit for the UK this will still be the case.

One thing is clear and that is during these times, similar to the Scottish Yes / No campaign there is an air of uncertainty and this will no doubt be fuelled by any further comments from the Brexit brigade, this effect could seriously cause the cost of your property purchase to increase significantly, so for this reason many clients have purchased their euros in advance.

This method is called a 'Forward contract' and by doing this with FC Exchange it means you can fix your exchange rate for up to two years in advance, so you’ll know exactly how much you’ll get when you make your international money transfer. This makes budgeting a great deal easier and a lot of stress is removed.

Do you want more information ?

So if you need to buy or sell sterling and would like to be kept up to date with all the latest data releases and exchange rate movements then feel free to contact myself Ben Amrany. If you are buying or selling a house in France we will make sure your monies are in the right place at the right time, we work hand in hand with you and Cle France.

For more information on the currency service I can provide please feel free to contact myself...

Ben Amrany from FC Exchange follow this link or phone and ask for myself and quote "Cle France" on 020 7989 0000.

You may contact me directly using this form (click here) with your requirement and I will explain the options that are available to you in getting the best exchange rate.  

Blog submitted by: David for The French Property Network - Cle France.

For everything you need to know about French property visit www.clefrance.co.uk


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