France –foreign buyers in real estate : the 17 billion dollar market


In this article I will be looking at three topics :

  • How big is the market of foreign buyers in France ?
  • What regions / areas are most popular among foreign buyers ?
  • What are the trends and dynamics ?

Foreign buyers in France – the 17 billion euros market

I created the graph below using data from BNP Paribas International Buyers 2016 Study[1]. It is the most reliable source of information regarding foreign buyers in France.

The numbers presented below concern NON-RESIDENT foreign buyers exclusively. This is important because it consequently does not represent the whole market, but only a portion of what foreign buyers represent. I’ll expand later on that difference, but first let’s look at the key figures :

foreign-buyers-real-estate-franceQuite clearly, the number of transactions is in strong progression from 13,000 transactions in 2013 and 2014, to 17,785 in 2015. This is a notable 29% increase year-on-year.

 In the full study, BNP Paribas also provides data about foreign buyers in France, including both the non-resident and the resident.

Their figures show a very similar evolution, +28% compared to the two previous years. Foreign buyers, both resident and non-resident included, represented 53,754 transactions in 2015. This is three times more than the 17,785 transactions made by non-resident foreign buyers, and show that 2 out of 3 foreign buyers reside in France.
Does that make them bilingual ? I’ve personally been a resident of Italy, Canada, China, Switzerland, without necessarily speaking the language (especially true for China). So a seller in France should not expect neither non-resident nor resident foreign buyers to speak French.

If we assume that the average transaction price remains at 310K€ as stated above, this means that foreign buyers in France is not a 5.5 billion euros market, but a 17 billion euros market. Including resident foreign buyers means that we include the foreigners who come to France for work, studies, retirement among other reasons. Those people may not know the local brands (,,, among others) but rather use Google and/or the international sections available from their local property websites, to search real estate in France translated into their native language (whether that’s Italian or Chinese).

What regions are most attractive for foreign buyers ?

As always, Paris, French Alps, Cote d’Azur and Provence, as well as the South West of France (especially Gascony and Dordogne) are the key French markets for foreign buyers, as this map shows quite clearly :


According to the French press[2], the mot remarkable trend last year was how American buyers grew year-on-year by 91% to become the #2 nationality of foreign buyers in Paris. Italians are still the #1 nationality in Paris, as well as in Cote d’Azur and Provence.

Apart from the American buyers, who focus on Paris, most foreign buyers in France are Europeans, with strong regional specificities : the Italians and Belgians in Provence, the Swiss in Rhone-Alpes, the British in many parts of France including regions such as Poitou Charentes or Limousin that don’t interest many other nationalities otherwise, making the Bristish a very peculiar audience.

France is therefore back in fashion for International Property Investors from over 50 countries. No doubt the 2016 report from BNP Paribas International Buyers will shed light on how Brexit or the US Election impacted the French property market.

The trends and dynamics

Year after year, cross-border transactions increase to now represent on a global level a 650 billion dollar market. For example, in the United States foreign buyers represent a 102 billion dollar market according to studies.

It is good to see that France is not excluded from this trend. France is also profiting from this growing market. As the stock markets have proven in the past years their instability, many investors now diversify and include global real estate in their portfolio.

On the luxury segment, it’s even more obvious. Indeed, foreign buyers accounted for not less than 90% (!) of luxury sales in the Côte d’Azur two years ago, according to a report from Christie’s International Real Estate[3].

I posted articles about how foreign buyers are on the rise in Spain, in the USA, in Portugal. It’s clear that France is also part of the countries that are structurally attractive for foreign buyers, as there is a relatively stable currency, political stability, quality real estate, but also for all the reasons that make France the #1 touristic destination worldwide.


Thanks for reading my latest article on foreign buyers in real estate ! Please feel free to go check and contact me by email at for further information.




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