French punishment for UK expats: Buyers need to earn £150,000 for a mortgage – bank warns

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It is estimated 200,000 Britons have taken the plunge by owning a holiday home or second property across the channel in France. The UK finally left the European Union to take back control of its money, law and borders on December 31, 2020. Freedom of movement between the UK and the EU27 ended with Britain adopting an Australian-style points-based system.

Britons can still travel to Europe without the need for a visa, but their stay in the majority of EU countries will be limited to 90 days in any 180-day period.

For those fortunate enough to own a second home abroad, they must now either limit the length of their stay or apply for a visa in the respective nation.

But, property expert Eddie Sammon, who specialises in finding homes for British expats in France, has exposed one French bank for their outlandish demands.

The mortgage broker for Harrison Brook Mortgages revealed he has been approached by one unnamed bank, which requires Britons to demonstrate they are a “high net-worth or high-income individual” when applying for a loan on a second home.

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He stated in one instance, prospective second homeowners must demonstrate they each earn at least £150,000 annually or have £500,000 in net-assets.

Mr Sammon explained the rules would not apply to those who wanted to make the home their primary residence or were planning on letting the property.

Speaking to French news website The Local, he said: “For the bank in question, UK residents wishing to obtain a mortgage for a second home in France will have to be able to demonstrate that they satisfy the conditions to be classed as a high net-worth or high-income individual.

“Unless they are purchasing their primary residence or a property which will be mostly rented out. UK citizens who are tax resident in France will not be affected.

“To be classed as a high net-worth or high-income individual, you will need to earn at least £150,000 per year or have £500,000 in net-assets.

“For couples, this is required for each borrower.

“If both potential borrowers do not meet the criteria then the only possibilities will be a mortgage for a primary residence or for a property which will be mostly rented out.

“The bank has stated that they have introduced this criteria ‘in order to comply with new regulatory requirements in force in the United Kingdom’.”

Brexit has not changed the rules for those who already owned a property abroad, but EU member states have outlined their own criteria for new purchases.

The current UK Government guidelines urges Britons to check with the relevant authorities if they are thinking of owning or renting a property abroad.


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It says: “Rules about owning property, rent, taxation and shared ownership have not changed.

“However, if you are buying a new property some EU countries have different property acquisition laws for EU citizens and non-EU citizens.

“Check with local authorities how these might apply to you.”

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