Brexit and Beyond: The Impact on the French Property Market for UK Expats

The landscape of the French property market has experienced some shifts for UK residents post-Brexit. With the United Kingdom officially parting ways with the European Union, several changes have come into play that British nationals looking to buy or sell property in France need to be aware of.

Buying Property in France

Contrary to some concerns, Brexit has not erected barriers to property ownership in France for UK citizens. The Withdrawal Agreement ensures that UK nationals retain the right to purchase property in France. Whether seeking a mortgage for a home or buying a second residence, British buyers can still access French mortgages with Loan-to-Value (LTV) rates of up to 80%-85%, similar to EU nationals. This is a relief for many as there were fears that British buyers might be subject to the more restrictive conditions placed on non-EU nationals​.

Taxes and Inheritance

When it comes to taxes, Brexit does not impose additional burdens on UK nationals purchasing property in France. Rental income from French properties continues to be covered by the France-UK double tax treaty, ensuring taxation only in the country of residence. Moreover, Brexit has no impact on UK Wills or French inheritance laws, maintaining the status quo for property buyers and their heirs​.

Residency and Freedom of Movement

A significant post-Brexit change for UK expats is the loss of freedom of movement within the EU. Those wishing to move to France or spend more than 90 days in the country will now need to apply for a Long-Stay Visa Serving as a Residency Permit (VLS-TS). Owning property in France may support this application, especially if the property is mortgage-free, as assets are considered in the application process. However, property ownership does not guarantee residency rights​​.

Social Security and Healthcare

The EU-UK deal ensures that social security coordination will continue to protect social security benefits, including healthcare cover and uprated state pensions for UK expats. This is crucial for retirees who rely on their state pension from the UK to fund their life in France. Additionally, healthcare protections akin to the EHIC system will remain for travelers between the UK and EU, covering necessary healthcare needs during temporary stays​​.

Residency Card Applications

For those UK nationals who were living in France before the end of 2020, applying for a residence permit under the Withdrawal Agreement is guided by specific regulations. A notable point is the single low minimum income threshold for WARP households, set at €565 per month, which is particularly favorable for those with under five years of residence in France. This minimum threshold may also consider capital resources, not just income, making the process more accessible​.

Driving in France

UK nationals visiting France post-Brexit generally do not need an International Driving Permit. Exceptions include those with paper driving licenses or licenses issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man, who may require an IDP under certain conditions​​.

Selling Property and Capital Gains Tax

While selling property in France as a main residence remains unaffected by Brexit for those residing in France, second-home owners in the UK face certain changes.  

Since 1 January 2019, individuals affiliated to a compulsory social security scheme (other than French) in an EEA country (European Union, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland are exempt from the CSG (General Social Security Contribution) and CRDS (Social Security Debt Repayment Contribution)Although the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 1, 2021, British residents continue to benefit from this exemption. However, these earnings remain subject to the 7.5% solidarity levy.


The impact of Brexit on the French property market for UK expats is nuanced, with aspects such as purchasing rights and mortgages largely unaffected, while residency and long-term stays require more administrative efforts. Understanding these changes is essential for UK expats to navigate the new regulations successfully and to continue enjoying their French property ventures.

Please Note: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Always consult with a qualified professional when making decisions related to your personal finances or legal obligations.