France is top overseas hotspot

Nearly half (46%) of Conti’s mortgage enquiries in the past four months have been for French properties. Previously Spain was the foreign property hotspot.

Ski properties are particularly popular, as more than four in 10 (44%) French mortgages have been taken out to purchase properties in Rhône-Alpes.

Clare Nessling, director at Conti, said: “Over the last three years, but during 2014 in particular, Rhône-Alpes has been growing in popularity.

“And the department of Haute-Savoie, where popular resorts such as Chamonix, Morzine and Les Gets are located, is top of buyers’ lists.

“The French ski market is popular with the British but is also extremely well supported by the domestic market, making rental opportunities good.

“It’s also very accessible, by air, train and car, and the culture is familiar, which British buyers like. When you combine these things with the current mix of ideal buying conditions, including the favourable exchange rate, it’s basically a great time to buy a French ski property.”

UK buyers have been boosted by the pound’s strength against the euro, which reached a 7-year high of €1.34 last week.

A €200,000 home in France now costs £150,376 compared with £175,439 in the summer of 2013 when the pound was worth just €1.14.

French mortgage rates start at 2.2% for a 10-year variable and 3.25% for a 25-year fix; both of these deals, and many others, are available for mortgages of up to 80% loan to value.