The one lesson from the 6 months extension to leave the EU agreed this month, is that despite all the speculation of a hard Brexit if May’s Brexit deal gets rejected, the actual alternative is staying longer in the EU. There has never been a majority for a Hard Brexit either in the British parliament or in the population. The reason is most British understand the need to maintain strong trading ties with UK’s neighbours - the geographical position of the UK makes this obvious.
So the future options are:
a) May’s Brexit,
b) A softer customs union Brexit backed by the opposition Labour party
c) Staying in the EU if a second referendum stops Brexit
So at least a messy hard Brexit is not going to happen.
More business friendly options
All the media scare stories on the consequences of Hard Brexit , such as shortages in shops, further drop in the pound’s value, or difficulties in travelling for summer holidays can be put aside. When businesses realize that the uncertainty is between more “business friendly” options, hopefully investment and the normal course of business will resume as well.
The implication for UK house buyers wanting to buy in France
As we said 1 year ago, even in the case of May’s current Brexit deal, the impact will be minimal.
French Residency or buying a house – There are no changes either to residency or house purchase up to the cut-off date of 31st December 2020. The worst case scenario after that would be getting a 1 year Carte de Sejour to become resident like non-EU nationals. As a non-resident you would always have the right to buy a house to use as a holiday home.
Healthcare and pensions – The same rules on residency applies with regards to access to benefits. However it is best to spend at least 6 months in France as resident before the 31st December 2020 cut-off date. Missing the deadline does not mean losing access to these benefits, but there will be more steps and hurdles to go through after Brexit.
Mortgages – It is expected that banks will finance 50-70% of a house purchase by UK nationals after Brexit instead of 80% currently. With historically low interest rates in France, this is an opportunity not to be missed.
Taxation –Bilateral tax treaties in place will continue so no changes are expected. The UK French double tax treaty ensures people are not taxed twice on the same income.
So in the same way people can relocate from non-EU countries such Switzerland and Norway to France, Britons will still be able to buy properties and live in France even if the UK is no longer be part of the EU.