Politics Residential

What impact has the French election result had on London property?

Q3 2017

Emmanuel Macron won a stunning presidential victory over the Front National’s Marine Le Pen in May, taking 66 per cent of the vote. His new political movement, La République en Marche, has also won 350 of the 577 seats in the French National Assembly. So what, if any, implications does this seismic change in the French political scene have for the London property market?

Sabaya Verger

Associate, Residential Lettings

+44 203 794 0749

With Bastille day just around the corner on Friday 14 July, we turn our attention to French people living in London…

Will London remain ‘Little France’?

With 17.5% of the 2 million French people who live abroad making their homes in the UK, and 250,000 of them living in London, it’s no wonder the UK capital is often dubbed France’s ‘sixth city’.

London continues to attract French people due to its multicultural attitude and excellent international education choices, including the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in South Kensington and Ecole Marie D’Orliac in Fulham.

There has been some speculation that Macron’s centrist policies might lure French expats back home. But so far, this hasn’t materialised. In fact, French families are still very much buying and renting in London with the intention of staying for a long time. And while some French expats may be asking for yearly break clauses in their rental contracts, this has more to do with possible relocation because of Brexit than the Macron victory.”

What about Macron’s policies?

Voted in without the backing of a main political party, Macron places himself at the centre of the political spectrum.

The former investment banker is an anglophile but also wants to drive further integration in Europe, which may have implications for Brexit. He has vowed to take a hard-line approach during negotiations and has dismissed talks of France having its own referendum vote.

It’s also been said that Macron is keen to manoeuvre Paris into position as Europe’s financial centre following Britain’s – and London’s - departure. This is part of anti-Brexit rhetoric and is his attempt to show that France – and Europe – can manage just fine without the UK.

What will happen next?

Macron’s programme includes business and investment-friendly policies such as cutting corporation tax from 33% to 25% over five years, and loosening labour laws.

He is said to be committed to simplifying France’s complex property tax rules and reducing some property taxes. But he has also proposed replacing France’s controversial wealth tax, the impôt de solidarité sur la fortune or ISF, with a property tax. Because of rising property prices, this could affect a much wider group of people than the very wealthy, making relocating to France a less attractive proposition.

The reality is that many French families living in London have made their homes here and have already made a commitment to stay. Unless they see a considerable negative impact on their living standards in the UK as a result of the Brexit negotiations, or a major improvement to the tax regime and anti-diversity rhetoric in France, we are unlikely to see any significant change to the current status quo and appeal of London to French families.