Equity release mortgages in France

Do you know which lenders will provide equity release on your mortgage in France? Until quite recently I wasn't aware of and French banks that did.

Having owned our property and added value to it over the past few years it would be beneficial for us to release some cash to finish it so I took it upon myself to investigate. Initial enquires proved positive, however, from the limited research that I've done it would appear that these are only available to salaried individuals and not those of us who are self employed.

Have any of you managed to secure equity release on your French property, let's hear about it please!



he he I know :) It will happen one day and I can see that day coming soon Andrew :(

but Suzanne, many of us are working and still manage the odd comment on sfn so all is not lost if push comes to shove... ;-)


I'd better tell Darren he's got to carry on working then ;)

Lets hope he doesn't decide to send me out to work - or else I wouldn't be able to share my troubles with you all on SFN :)

yep, not a hope in hell's chance then ! :-(

yes Andrew - and as we are not French salaried and have both French/UK income we are too complicated...

Bridging loans do exist - prêt relais - but with everything financial in France, you need to be in a rock solid situation to get one ;-)

I am now regretting paying off the mortgage when we sold our previous UK home - it was such a nice feeling to pay off our French one but now it is a pain in the backside as if we'd kept the money in the bank and just carried on paying the mortgage on our current home then we wouldn't have this problem now. Mind you, putting it in the bank is no longer very safe - is it! (see my bailing out blog!) Imagine if Mr EU came along and snatched 6.75% of our house proceeds - at least they pinch the roof off our house...I hope.

Bridging loans do exist if you want to buy another house before yours is sold but I don't know the details.

When we bought our house on a buy to let, the bank were not interested in the value of the house, they wanted a statement from a local agency confirming the rental value of our project. They then loaned up to 90% of that projected income, including a huge amount for 'travaux'. We did have to provide quotes for said work, then as Kate said, they released that amount against receipts from wherever.

What may interest people is that we had the chance to defer the repayments for a year before we started paying back although apparently if we had used all the money before then we would have had to start the repayments immediately.

I do think it helps if you know the bank manager, not socially but we had been customers for a few years before we applied.

Suzanne - not that I know of, they all require monthly repayments with exception of the "prêt viager" mentioned below. Then again, I am much more up to speed with products available to the non-resident market so the fact I don't know of it does not mean it does not exist for french fiscal residents!! Bridging loans do exist, the terms of which depend on whether it's to bridge to the purchase of a different house in France, or just a "pret sec" ... meaning no second loan will follow with the bank once house 1 is sold. Still, repayments are necessary either way.

Thanks Martin - we thought the interest would accrue and once our house sold we'd just clear off the loan and the interest automatically but wouldn't need to pay monthly. Does any such marvellous product exist in the french market place - like a bridging loan in the UK?

Hi Martin - we got the loan from our bank - La Poste. It was to carry on renovating our apartment building to create more apartments for rent. They were happy to take the income of the flats we'd already created as our income to pay off the loan.

just a few follow-up points in case it helps others coming across this post:

- "Equity release" loans in France are handled as per normal loans in that you need to repay monthly, and need to qualify based on your income & assets (as Kate mentioned). Property value comes into it also in that you can only leverage up to (typically) 70% of the appraised value.

- What Veronica mentions below sounds like a "pret viager" which is slightly different. CF release a percentage of the property price (sliding scale starting from from age 65 I believe) as a lump some and no monthly payments are made. Interest accrues on the amount borrowed and on death of the policy holders, the successors have up to 6 months to pay off the principle + accrued interest, or can sell the house to pay off the loan, the remaining proceeds becoming part of the inheritance. As mentioned, initial costs are very high and interest rates are very high, in my opinion. It is a product that can suit certain people with no income, a big valuable house that they wish to live, and with no successors, but you really need to appreciate the costs + final outcome.

- Kate, would be interested in understanding more about your pret travaux & the work it covered...was it from a local CA branch?

Theres more likelihood of sadam hussein lending the money than any french bank and credit foncier must be the worst - kept me hanging around for 6 months sending every document i ever owned , to be told my income wasnt sufficient - they knew this on day one !


Thanks Kate, useful to know.

We got a hefty pret travaux loan and are doing all the work ourselves. We had to justify any purchases with factures from our suppliers (including Brico Depot etc) but no problem at all being DIY - however, we do have income from rental property so it wasn't equity release....

In our experience, loans here are not based on value of the property, just ability to pay.

Our mortgage on our next house is through Credit Foncier, no problems with the initial mortgage but they wouldn't do equity release against our current home.

There is a company called Credit Foncier that gives equity release BUT the interest rate is very high, something like almot 9% compounded interest. I would not advice going with them. We did, my husband died shortly afterwards and now I am left with a huge bill to pay back when I sell the house - on the other hand I can stay in this house for the rest of my life and not pay them a penny - they take the house on my death.

Hello, we took equity release on our property in 2009, having originally purchased it in 2003. The other half is a builder so we had made some vast improvements by the time we did it. We were with the Abbey National who at the time supplied mortgages in France, but they are now part of the BNP group. I can't remember if they were still the Abbey when we did it but our mortgage is now with BNP. We approached the bank directly. We have a micro reel and I am also salaried so that may have helped. Good luck.