Brexit: Will UK residents face issues for French mortgage?

No widespread changes are reported but one bank is said to have introduced tough new rules linked to full Brexit

24 February 2021
By Liv Rowland

Are there likely to be any issues for UK residents in obtaining a French mortgage to buy a property in France?

Generally-speaking The Connexion is not aware of new difficulties for UK residents obtaining French mortgages to purchase a French property – with one notable exception.

A mortgage broker with an English-language mortgage specialist based in the south of France said that one bank has told him it will now require UK residents to have an income of £150,000 a year or net assets of £500,000 in order to give them a mortgage. For couples, this is required for each person individually.

Eddie Sammon who works for Harrison Brook Mortgages, based in Villeneuve-Loubet, Alpes-Maritimes, said he did not wish to name the specific bank because they act as intermediaries with banks and would prefer people to come to them for their mortgages.

However, he said it was one of the big well-known French banks and one of those that has historically been among the most popular for non-residents obtaining mortgages.

“They have just blamed ‘UK regulatory changes’ and said they were linked to Brexit. Basically, they’re talking about the UK’s withdrawal from the EU’s single market [after the Brexit transition period]."

Mr Sammon added: “Borrowers from some other non-EU countries face even greater restrictions, so it’s not as though the UK is the only one.”

He noted that the new criteria at the single bank concerned do not apply when buying a house to move to as your main residence, or to rent it out.

He added: “If for instance the buyer will rent it out most of the time, and signs a piece of paper to this effect, they would not need to meet the additional income or asset requirements.”

Mr Sammon said he is not aware at present that any other banks have followed suit by making it harder for UK residents to obtain a loan. It was “hard to predict” if some may decide to, and he would know more in the coming months.

He has however seen no evidence banks will ask for a larger deposit from UK residents, he said, though he said this is the case for residents of some third countries.

He also stated that generally speaking French lending criteria have not become tougher (for all borrowers) in recent months; if anything they have become slightly easier.

Another French mortgage broker with CAFPI in Antibes, Alpes-Maritimes, Joffrey Pomponi, said he had not heard of any new restrictions being imposed by French banks on UK residents.

“I don’t think it will change. For the moment none of the banks has told us about any new rules, though I can’t say what the situation will be like in a year or two.

“The main difference in terms of how much deposit is needed, for example, is whether or not you are a French fiscal resident, and then, for example, banks give a longer loan for a main home than a second home or rental property. For a rental, it won’t be more than 20 years, whereas to live there it can be up to 25.”

However the latter points were not Brexit-related and had not changed, he said.

Mr Pomponi said however depending on the country, being a fiscal resident in certain third countries could complicate things. For example, it is harder for a US resident to obtain a mortgage than a Canadian resident, he said.

It may depend on the relations between France and the country in question, he said.

He added that one of his partner banks specialised in lending to people living in the continent of Europe, but Brexit had not changed anything with regard to eligibility of UK residents for that.

Another mortgage broker, from Immoprêt in Caen, Calvados, said: “Britons can still buy in France. We already finance other people who don’t come from the EU – Armenians, Moroccans… – so there’s no reason why Britons shouldn’t be able to buy.”

He added that as before, they would have to show financial stability and enough income with regard to the amount to be loaned and the repayments, but he is not aware of any new stricter rules specifically for UK residents.

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