So many British buyers in France do the same as the French, and loans on offer are generally the same for foreign buyers as domestic ones. “But note that life assurance is compulsory in France when taking out a mortgage – not just strongly suggested as in the UK,” says Busby. “It is sold with the loan and the additional cost could be 0.25 per cent on top of the rate – so you pay 3.75 per cent rather than 3.5 per cent.” Rates are currently around 2.5 to 4 per cent, suggests Conti, and unlike many other countries where the best rates are limited to those with the biggest deposits, there are many good deals which require just a 15 to 20 per cent down payment.
Seventy per cent LTV is typical for an investment property. Mortgage types are pretty similar to those available in the UK, so rates can be fixed, capped or variable, and although there are some interest-only options, deals tend to be on a capital repayment basis. “Long-term fixes have been very attractive with British buyers but equally, it’s been quite high-end market for us in the past six months and with many people thinking of clearing their mortgage sooner rather than later, they are taking variable deals,” adds Busby. For Athena, for whom the Alpine market has been especially strong this year, the average loan is €450,000 to €500,000 – up from €250,000 a year before that.