Mortgage specialist Conti has announced that France has overtaken Spain as the number one destination for British buyers of overseas homes, based on enquiries to the firm.

Nearly half (46%) of Conti’s mortgage enquiries in the past four months have been for French properties. Ski properties are the most popular type, perhaps not a surprise at this time of year, with 44% French mortgages undertaken through the company have been taken out to purchase properties in Rhône-Alpes.

Clare Nessling, director at Conti, says: “Over the last three years, but during 2014 in particular, Rhône-Alpes has been growing in popularity and the department of Haute-Savoie, where popular resorts such as Chamonix, Morzine and Les Gets are located, is top of buyers’ lists.

“The French ski market is popular with the British but is also extremely well supported by the domestic market, making rental opportunities good. It’s also very accessible, by air, train and car, and the culture is familiar, which British buyers like.

“When you combine these things with the current mix of ideal buying conditions, including the favourable exchange rate, it’s basically a great time to buy a French ski property.”

A €200,000 home in France now costs around £150,400 compared with £175,400 in the summer of 2013, thanks to sterling’s growing strength against the euro.