Some buyers may have been avoiding France believing that the weak pound makes property prices too expensive to consider and that it would be tricky to get a French Euro-based mortgage without transferring sterling first.

It's important to remember that base rates in France are at their lowest level for more than 60 years and that there are still plenty of good deals to be had, as not all banks have increased their margins but have decided to keep competitive lending rates.

The European Central Bank recently reported that banks across Europe have tightened lending procedures, but many European banks have also reported increased demand for mortgages during the last quarter of 2010.

Property prices in France have dropped by as much as 30% since their peak in 2008, but recent figures have shown that prices are beginning to increase once more following a period of stabilization in 2010.

A report by the Notaries de France showed strong growth during the second quarter of 2010 with new house sales up by 23.3%. There is also good growth in sales of older properties with average price increases of 4.9% across the country, although prices fell slightly in some regions.

Most experts believe that prices will increase modestly this year with more substantial growth being seen in property hotspots such as Paris and Midi Pyrenees while rural areas will experience more subdued growth. Paris is proving to be especially popular with overseas buyers particularly the Chinese and Italians and some experts are predicting that this growth will begin to spread outwards.