France’s second home market has been given a boost by the coronavirus pandemic, with more people looking to buy property outside of cities as a result of lockdowns and a general reassessment of priorities.
But some regions are far more sought after than others with, for example, coastal areas being predictably amongst the most popular. This drives up the prices, leading to quite substantial price disparities.
Two regions where there is a particularly high concentration of second homes are Aquitaine in the South West, where 12% of properties are second homes, and Paca in the South East, where 18% are second homes.
These two regions, along with Ile-de-France, make up the top three most expensive places to buy a second home.
The spokeswoman for property listings website Se Loger, Séverine Amate, said that these regions had become even more popular due to Covid.
“[The second homes] are often located on the seafront and in quiet areas, attracting more senior buyers,” she said.
However, the increase in the number of second homes being bought is causing a strain on the market, and posing “real problems for local people who are finding it more difficult to buy their main home,” she said.
The graph below shows the average price of second homes in France based on the old regions. The data was gathered in December 2021 and first published on January 14, 2022. It is not clear why old regions were used.
The cheapest place to buy a second home is Auvergne, in the centre of the country, followed by Lorraine, now part of the Grand Est region.
The average cost of a second home in France is €280,900, including both new- and old-build houses, figures from Se Loger show.
British are a strong market, where do they buy second homes?
There are at least 148,000 British people living permanently in France, mainly in sparsely populated areas in the west of the country, a 2020 report from France’s national statistics bureau Insee shows.
There are a further 86,000 British second homes owners in France, making them the largest group in total of non-French homeowners.
British people tend to buy second homes in the same areas as those buying main residences.
These are usually less populated areas. For example, 19% of Britons living in France live in rural areas. This is a far higher percentage than Belgians living in sparsely populated areas of France (9%) and Germans (5%).
Around 43% of British people settled in France live in either Nouvelle-Aquitaine or Occitanie (39,200 and 24,900 respectively), the Insee report states.
There is also a high concentration of British people in Brittany and south-west Normandy, areas that provide easier access back to the UK.