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France - Expats
Another attraction is the housing market. In recent years expats have flocked to the country to buy up renovation projects for very little money and renovate to a high standard, sometimes increasing the value of their property by 15 times the price they paid. The number of such projects is reducing although bargains can still be found and in some areas property is half the price of similar sized property in the UK or the US. Property that has already been renovated is obviously much more expensive but it is still reasonably priced for those who do not want to take on a project.
The cost of living in general is very reasonable. Items such as municipal taxes and property taxes tend to be much lower than in the UK and the cost of household appliances and other goods is comparable with those in the UK, mainly because there is a lot more competition and they are happy to work with smaller profit margins. In contrast, Paris is a relatively expensive place to live, but it still attracts large numbers of expats.
Expats are largely very welcome in France. The French people have gained a reputation for being stand-offish with foreigners but this is not actually the case. If you make the effort to communicate with them in their own language then they will actually go out of their way to help you. If you get to know your neighbours then you will find you quickly become part of the community. France has a large expat community and it is estimated that as many as 4 million foreigners are making their permanent home in the country. Many of these are from former French colonies in northern Africa but it is estimated that more than half a million expats in France are from the UK. Those who have previously spent time in the country will know how friendly the French can be and this may form part of the reason that they want to move there.
There are few regions of France which are not popular with English-speaking expats. The British particularly like areas of northern France such as Brittany and Normandy as well as southern areas such as Provence. The northern regions of the country offer lower property prices and a very similar climate to Southern England. Add this to the ease with which people can now travel across the channel and there are some towns in northern France which have a growing expat community.
The weather is a big attraction for expats moving to France. Much of the country benefits from warm weather in the summer and the further south you are the milder the winter is. Those who do not like the colder winters experienced by the UK and countries further north will appreciate the better weather in France.
Most people who are moving to France are simply seeking a better quality of life. Being able to purchase a property at a much lower price means that some people who have sold a home in another country may be able to purchase a home in France without the need for a mortgage, so reducing the need for work.
France is a popular destination for those who want to run their own holiday lets. Country properties often have outbuildings which can be converted into the ‘gite’, a cottage holiday let which is growing in popularity as a holiday option. This gives people the chance to earn a living without the need for finding a traditional job. Very few people move to the country in search of work and jobs are hard to come by if you do not have a good command of the French language, but there are opportunities for expats who are determined.
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