Buy euros now, leave the UK later

 French Riviera map with UK Passport, pounds and euros

Telegraph columnist Anna Nichols reports on a survey by the deVere Group that found 59% of Brits are giving serious thought to leaving the UK on retirement, a 10% rise since the same survey was conducted a year ago. The reasons cited were the UK’s healthcare crisis, increased crime rates, benefits cuts, higher taxes and the rising cost of living. As always, “better weather” and a more relaxed lifestyle also figured. Hindrances to embarking on expat life include commitments to UK-based family and the need to remain in work longer to earn a better pension or to pay off their children’s higher education costs.

At this writing (spring 2015), the euro is still falling. Combine the €1.35 to £1 conversion with falling property prices (even on the Riviera) and sterling earners have every reason to buy in France now. Conversely, it’s the worst time in years to sell up your French property and move back to Britain. France is a buyer’s market, but where are we moving to?

According to stats released to The Local.fr from France’s National Statistics Agency INSEE, in 2011 British expats, of which there are almost 160,000 in total, assemble in certain parts of France while snubbing other regions altogether.

Some 21,000 Brits live in the Ile-de-France region, which includes Paris, making it the most popular area in France for Britons. Second place goes to Poitou-Charentes in the west of France – with its 2,400 hours of sunshine a year – where 16,300 Brits make up a third of the population.

Next most popular is Aquitaine (16,100) in the southwest, which includes the famous “Dordogneshire”, and neighbouring region Midi-Pyrénnées (15,800).

There are 13,500 Brits living in Brittany and a similar number living in Rhône Alps.

But only about 200 Britons call Corsica home although the figure doubles in Champagne-Ardenne and Franche-Comté (400) and is slightly higher in Lorraine (850).

Another area that the Brits avoid is Burgundy, where around 2,300 Britons live despite the fact it ticks most boxes for the ideal French home – “scenery, cuisine and great wine on offer”.

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