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France tipped to escape dramatic slump in property market

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Overseas property buyers who are looking to invest in a relatively stable European market could find France a good option to consider.

According to Graham Downie, founder of Cognac Property Services, the country is unlikely to experience a "dramatic slump" in its property market, along the lines of those seen in Greece, Spain and some of the UK in recent years.

This, he said, is because the market in France has typically been far less volatile than those in other parts of Europe, as both the gains and losses investors can expect to see are much smaller.

As a result, it could be an appealing choice for foreign property buyers who are keen to purchase a home in a traditional investment hotspot, even amid the continuing financial turmoil across the eurozone.

France's popularity as a holiday destination could enable investors to collect healthy returns, as it attracts more than 50 million visitors every year. Therefore, property owners could be able to cash in on high demand for rental accommodation across the country.

"It remains the most popular tourist destination in the world," Mr Downie observed.

However, anyone looking to transfer money online in order to make a purchase may first need to look beyond headline market figures and examine regional variations.

Mr Downie noted that France is a "series of hundreds of different micro markets", which means prices are going up in some areas and falling in others.

Nevertheless, he stressed that these fluctuations are fairly small, with only single-digit changes occurring in each location.

Mr Downie added that the property market in France "hit a wall" in 2008-09, which triggered a drop in house prices and the number of transactions taking place.

However, he said it has turned around since then, with the number of purchases going up and property values rising as well, although they are now starting to level off.

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