Although economic recession has plagued the UK since 2008, France is still the number one destination for British citizens desiring to buy property abroad. Fifty percent of foreign buyers in France are British, and the 2009 French Property Exhibition in London tallied an audience increase of 10 percent.
Cautious lending behaviour has given France a relatively stable housing market sheltered from extreme upturns and downturns. More than 80 percent of all French housing loans are fixed rate. During the recession that spread globally through 2009, more properties came available on the market in France, but the average price in real terms was down 6.4 percent.
Many British buyers are attracted to the Mediterranean climate of the French Riviera. In April when the lilacs are in bloom across the region, temperatures average 12° C. January is the coldest month in the south of France with an average of 8° C, while July and August – the beach season – climb to an average 23° C. The moderate weather draws many British expatriates, as does the relaxed French lifestyle, the exquisite cuisine, and a health system ranked as one of the best in the world.