Rugby World Cup: England vs France – whose property wins?

This Saturday, the deeply competitive relationship between England and France will be on full display at the Rugby World Cup quarter final in New Zealand. But who is currently winning in today's property market?

On home turf, Britain has displayed its fighting spirit, battling against the waves of economic hardship felt across global property markets. Based on the latest data from The Halifax, house prices in cities across the UK are, in general, 7% higher than their county average with the average house price across the tracked UK cities rising 65% over 10 years from £104,681 in August 2001 to £172,917 in August 2011.

Meanwhile, demand for rental property in London has sky rocketed with some properties achieving a record £55,000 per week. Enticed by an average income of £713 a month in the UK and strong rental demand, Buy-to-Let investors have been snapping up properties across the country favouring London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool locations. Lucrative opportunities are rife with investment agencies such as Property Frontiers offering a 10% net rental income (assured for 3 years) at Candia Tower, just north of Liverpool city centre, for example.

 Ray Withers Director of UK buy-to-let experts, Property Frontiers, comments,

 "The UK is still recognised as one of the most resilient and reliable markets in Europe. Although we have been hit hard, the UK is still a hub for opportunity with one of the best financial and economic institutions in the world. Indeed, we are one of the most visited nations on the planet and what we lack in sunshine we make up for in culture, history, entertainment and investment opportunities.

 "Indeed, Britain's B2L property market is in full bloom, offering higher rental yields than our French counterparts making the UK, in my opinion, investment property champions."

When it comes to luxury dwellings, the Land of Hope and Glory evokes a genuine sense of prestige and sophistication above its other European counterparts with Forbes indicating that of the world's 214 new billionaires, 32 are located in Britain.  

Wealth has spread in the UK, particularly to rural enclaves with areas such as Buckinghamshire and Surrey booming in property sales of over £1 million. For sheer indulgence, family run estate agency Barton Wyatt located in popular Virginia Water, north Surrey who has recently experienced a 116% increase in sales is offering September House, a stunning 6 bedroom property on the renowned Wentworth Estate for £6,500,000.  

While the UK affords superb Buy-to-Let opportunities and rural luxury for the wealthy, does France have what it takes to drop kick Britain's property market into the sin bin?

 As a fabled land of good food and wine, France has topped the charts in the 2011 Quality of Life Index compiled by comparison website uSwitch for a third time in a row. Although the findings show that UK incomes are around £6,780 more a year than our French neighbours, France benefits from having the highest life expectancy (81.9 years), enjoys 2,124 hours of sunshine a year and spends the highest proportion of its GDP (14.1%) on health.

With this in mind, lifestyle has remained one of the key considerations for buying property so it is hardly surprising that France has become the top destination for UK buyers looking to buy a second home abroad according to research by Savills International.

Business Development Manager, Charlie Williams of eco-friendly property developer Terresens comments,

"France quite simply has the best lifestyle in Europe, if not the world and is no surprise that buyers want to soak up the benefits of buying French property considering the World Travel Organisation in 2010 identified France as the most popular country for tourism, with 78.95 million visitors.

"The great thing about France is there are plenty of options for second-homes in a variety of living environments from peaceful rural surrounding to great ski locations as well as stunning coastal sites and trendy urban cities. However, according to a new survey commissioned for Knight Frank's annual Private View magazine, a fifth of respondents asked desired a property in the snow for their picture-perfect second-home."

Buyers attracted to the French way of life continue to invest in the country's stable economy and also the French leaseback programme where investors become the freehold owners and are guaranteed rental income averages between 3 to 5% for 18 years +, offering a veritable tax-friendly pension alternative. 

Indeed, having just been completely renovated to a very high standard Le Centaure in Belle Plagne from Terresens situated in the heart of the French Alps, affording stunning studios to 3 bedroom apartments and great views of Mont Blanc from the pistes, guarantees a rental income of up to 4.10%. In comparison to the 10% net rental income offered by the likes of UK experts Property Frontiers for example, this French offering may not seem as alluring.

However, leaseback properties such as Le Centaure more than make up for this by not only having a management team to handle the rental process, on-going upkeep and repairs (free of charge), but by allowing the buyer to utilise the property themselves at certain times of the year.

So for those looking to score big in the property market why not consider the UK or France as a perfect property location, although who wins, you decide!

Which country's property would you invest in?

Pick up the property ball and try out our listings of English and French real estate: