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Are Britons returning to the UK?

Britons are still moving to France and there is no mass exodus - but demographics are changing

Christopher Chantrey of the British Community Committee, which represents British associations in France, said: “I have no sense that a lot are leaving – a lot seem to be staying although an uncomfortable number just say ‘oh we’ll be alright’ and do nothing to prepare, which is a bit naive.

“I’m still hearing from people who want to come and live here – and people working in financial services are being actively encouraged by France.”

Calum Harkiss, responsible for Normandy and Brittany for the money transfer specialists Currencies Direct, said after the Brexit vote some people sold up, while others ‘strengthened their resolve’ to stay, applying for cartes de séjour. The exchange rate drop initially favoured those looking to sell and hindered buyers. Enquiries from the UK dropped, though a greater proportion than before of enquiries resulted in a move across. The latest trends have seen a steady rise in business and a change in demographics – new home buyers are generally younger (45-60), with children, budgets have increased and more seek to work, not retire, Mr Harkiss added.

Maggie Fee of the AIKB group for newcomers to Brittany, said: “We get new members every week. I can’t say how many are going back because of Brexit: I know some who have gone to other EU countries but people return to the UK for all sorts of other reasons such as family or health.

“I also know people with holiday homes who are desperate to move here before the Brexit cut-off day.”

Dordogne representative of the Franco-British CCI Roger Haigh said 2017 and 2018 have seen slight increases in business registrations by Britons.

He said he tells those seeking reassurance that it makes sense to come and start a business now before any new restrictions could be put in place.

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