According to friends in the finance industry, the mood is ‘don’t panic’. At the moment Brexit raises more questions than answers.
But in the medium and long term the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union in unlikely to have serious consequences for the French Riviera property market. Here’s why.
Firstly, British are not the largest buyers of property in the Alpes-Maritimes. Nor do they make up the largest group of foreign holidaymakers. Property prices won’t be decided by a minority group of buyers in a third country.
Secondly, although exchange rates will fluctuate in the short term, they will eventually settle. They always do.
What’s more, the swings between the Euro and Pound, plus the Euro and Dollar, will probably settle at a favourable rate. That’s because Britain remains the world’s fifth largest economy, while the United States the first. Both nations are enjoying an economic upswing relative to persistent economic issues on the continent.
Political instability will also weaken the Euro against the Pound and Dollar in 2017. Not least because of elections in France and Germany, plus enduring economic issues in Greece.
Other speculation will also die down over the coming days and weeks. One headline noted that Brits might need visas to enter the EU. As long as non-EU members like the United States don’t need visas, this will never happen.
Other journals speculated about the EHIC reciprocal health card. As Britain remain members of the EU for another two years these cards will still be valid through 2018.
Regarding EHIC, after 2018 it’s assumed that Britain will receive the same service as European Economic Area members Norway and Switzerland. Citizens of those nations hold EHIC cards and can walk through the EU lane at airports. It’s simply uneconomic to remove Britain from such practical agreements that all Europeans share.
So when the dust settles, French Riviera property should remain as it always has done: a robust market that has risen over the past 50 years through financial crises and political upheavals across the continent.
French Riviera locals like myself will also note that Norwegians, Swiss and various non-EU Europeans have long sipped rosé on these sun-kissed shores. Now we’ll welcome Brits to that mix too.