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How Eurostar commuters are pushing up French house prices

Amanda Lamb
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Since the opening of the new high-speed Eurostar link with Europe from St Pancras Station in London, there has been an increased interest in the purchase of French properties.

A faster Eurostar service to the likes of Lille and Paris in northern France makes living in France and working in the UK a reality.

In fact, for some commuting within the UK is now more expensive than commuting from France would be.

The improved Eurostar service, has already fuelled increased interest in buying properties in France, reports HiFX.

In its latest global property hotspots survey, the currency specialist reveals interest in France has increased and attributes this to the growing numbers of international commuters.

A permanent home, not just a holiday

The promise of fast links back to the UK is enabling workers to consider properties in France as a permanent base than just a holiday destination.

According to the number of enquiries received by HiFX, interest in France increased by 17% between August and September.

Interest in Portugal and Cyprus also increased whilst Spain maintained its position as second the most popular overseas property destination after France - accounting for 25% of enquiries in September.

The improved Eurostar service (launching on 14th November 2007) will make euro-commuting 20 minutes faster to and from Paris and Lille and the prospect of living in France, but working in the UK, a reality.

Mark Bodega, Director at HiFX who help over 30,000 people buy property abroad each year explains: "France has always been a popular holiday home destination for Brits who enjoy the more relaxed French way of life. However, it is now increasingly feasible for buyers to have the best of both worlds, living permanently in what was a holiday home and commuting back to the UK when necessary."

Peter Wheelton from VEF Pas de Calais, French property experts adds: "We've noticed a particular rise in the number of people who perhaps spend two or three days a week working in the UK and the rest of the time living in their permanent homes in France. Property prices in France are around 30% lower than those in the UK, and those in the Pas de Calais region are typically a third less than in the rest of France."

Also Calais and its surrounding area is almost equidistant from London, Paris and Brussels, which makes it an attractive destination for the international commuter.

According to the think tank Future Forum, there will be more than 1.5 million people working in the UK while living in another country within a decade. Also 20% of people moving to France permanently are planning to commute back to Britain for work.

An Easier Commute

Compared to travelling in the UK, it is easy to see why cross-border commuting is increasing.

A train from London to Manchester can cost over two hundred pounds and takes three hours. In comparison, les Frontaliers, as international commuters are known as in France, can travel from London to Paris in two hours and fifteen minutes for less than ¯¿½90 return.

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