Looking for Statistics


I’m looking for a source of statistics on the expat property situation.

Things like;

How many return to their country of origin

How many renovation projects fail due to insufficient funds/break ups etc.

That kind of thing

Any help would be greatly appreciated especially as I’m in a hurry!



I regret that I have only just found and registered with this site basically because of this thread about people leaving France.

This may not help you in your quest to find statistics, but we in the final week of packing before our exit back to the UK. Therefore we are a statistic of one.

We thought we would be the last people to throw in the towel. My wife is French, we did everything by the book, we knew France well, We knew this area, we thought we would settle, but we have not. In the years that we lived in the UK, France has changed so much, its systems, its attitudes, the unbelievable bureaucracy and impôts. After three and a half years, we are moving back to the UK.

I question the point, from the previous post ‘When the form E111 runs out and the French bureaucracy kicks in’. The E-111 expires the day you step foot into the country as resident. You try and register with the Security Sociale straight away. The fact that it takes them eighteen months to sort you out is another matter.

It was not our intention to live as Brits abroad in a little England community. That’s the inverse criteria for people leaving the UK. We do not have English TV, a satellite dish, or an essential supply of Bisto and baked beans. I suppose one could continue to argue, where is the real France?

It gives me great comfort, that so far, we have not found the obstacle of form filling to leave the country. Therefore, I presume there are no national statistics.

There are many unknowns here, I am more than glad that my wife is French and I speak a degree of French. Otherwise, we would have entirely lost.

I think that a statistic, is just that. There must be countless reasons why people leave. Our story is just one. I could write about it. In fact I possibly will.

I take my hat off to those who speak little French come with great ideas and make headway and survive here. We know of a few in various areas of France. But living here, is not for us.

James, Following Deborah’s full and knowledgeable reply, I would add that IMO the same percentage of people are going back iwithin 2 to 4 years as ever did - it just seems more at present, because there was a greater number who came over in the ‘boom years’ 2000 - 2004.
I’ve found that, with one exception, whatever reason people give for going back: lonely, run out of money, bored, French aren’t welcoming, can’t get a job etc; it all boils down to insufficient language ability. By and large, if you can speak French adequately (ie above ‘survival French’) then it is easier to get a job, earn money, make friends outside the expat community, go to theatre, cinema etc. The exception I mentioned is for grandchildren who are in UK, esp those born after the grandparents moved out to France. Incredible family pull there.

The return point is generally at 2-4 years, and my theory is that that is the time when the French bureaucracy becomes unavoidable. E101 runs out, Carte Vitale needed; tax returns have to be filed etc. Money tends to run out at that point too! Also, the return percentage increases if the weather is bad!

Hope that is helpful!

Hi James,

I can’t give you actual statistics, but can give you my opinion based on experience if that helps. Regarding the renovation projects, I have many enquiries from people who wish to borrow some money to complete the renovation process. In my area (the Dordogne) this causes problems as many people that I talk to do not work or have insufficient income to borrow money in France, as obtaining a mortgage is very difficult here in comparison to the UK. Also, most lenders will only provide money for renovation projects if there is a registered and reputable artisan doing the works, but most of my clients are renovating themselves without the aid of artisans. Many people think that they have sufficient funds from a house sale in the UK for example, but this is soon swallowed up due to underestimating the costs of renovation in France and also, often, the lack of language skills. Based on this experience, I would still say that the majority of renovation projects are finished, if the people concerned are in their 60s and have a reliable and regular source of income, eg a pension. However a few fail and unfortunately this tends to be the younger people who are unable to find work & don’t have an income.

Regarding people moving back to their country of origin, although the general feeling is that there is a “mass exodus” of Britains returning to the UK, I don’t think that is actually true. Some have gone back due to the financial climate, but not as many as the newspapers would like us to believe! However, as a side note, I do know that some older people do go back due to illness or family commitments and the younger ones go back due to the inability to provide a living for themselves & their family and often (over all age groups) one partner returns and the other partner remains as our lifestyle doesn’t suit both parties, but one partner really cannot envisage going back to the UK.

Sorry to rattle on, but hope this helps.

Regards, Debbie

Lastly, I am receiving more and more enquiries from British people looking to move to France on a permanent basis as they feel that the economic situation is not going to change in the next few years, so there is no point putting the move off, as they have done in the last 2/3 years.