BARNES reinvents life annuity

Life annuity sales are gaining a new lease of life thanks to BARNES, which is brushing off the dust of this arrangement in order to bring it into alignment with the expectations of the luxury property market. As evidence of this dynamism, the BARNES Life Annuity team has recently opened its first dedicated office in Paris’ 16th arrondissement.

BARNES is putting an end to preconceptions surrounding life annuity and showing that it can in fact meet the expectations of vendors and investors in the luxury property market. Within our Paris-based offices, we’ve noticed an increased demand on the part of elderly owners wanting to stay in their homes while receiving a capital injection to improve their day-to-day lives, help out their loved ones or reorganise their assets”, explains Vincent Desmarie, Associate Director of BARNES Life Annuity. We have also noted a vacancy when it comes to a major player in life annuity in terms of BARNES’ long-standing positioning: luxury properties. That’s why we created the Life Annuity department 5 years ago, staffed by thirty-somethings with degrees and trained to listen to seniors”.

Traditional life annuity allows people to immediately become the owner of a property in exchange for part of the price (the initial settlement) plus monthly payments  (the annuity payment) for the duration of the vendor’s life. The amount of the initial settlement and the annuity depend on the market value of the property, discounted by its future occupancy, based on indexes taking into account the age of the occupants. Transposed to luxury real estate, this arrangement had one disadvantage up until now:  the annuity payments (indexed to the value of the property) were too expensive to interest potential buyers. The BARNES team has revolutionised and simplified life annuities by removing this annuity payment and retaining solely the initial settlement, which is naturally higher than that of a classic life annuity. This type of sale, known as separation of property, consists in the transfer by the vendor of the bare ownership of their property, for which they retain the usufruct, that is to say the right of use and of dwelling for the rest of their life.

What is the typical profile of an owner wanting to transfer their bare ownership?

“A sale can be made by a couple or a single person”, says Vincent Desmarie. “Ideally owners over the age of 75 to avoid too large a discount being applied to the value of the property, wanting to stay live out their days in their home and/or plan their succession in advance”.

The sum that the vendors receive allows them to undertake projects that they would not otherwise have the means to finance: “We have dozens of examples”, adds Guillaume Beau, BARNES Life Annuity expert. “One couple went on a round-the-world trip for 6 months, another could finally buy a second home to accommodate their family holidays. One of our clients made their dream of buying a sports car come true at 83... Others chose to help out their children or grandchildren, particularly in terms of buying their first apartment. Each owner has their own project in mind”.

So who’s buying?

BARNES Life Annuity works with private and corporate investors, active buyers who have detailed knowledge of market prices. Some private individuals see themselves one day living in the property, renting it out or transferring it to their children, while others intend to sell it on in the long term to take advantage of the price rise.

What properties are concerned?

The BARNES Life Annuity portfolio contains apartments, townhouses, private mansions, estates and châteaux valued at between 1 and 10 million euros, but including higher amounts for exceptional properties. For the most part located in the Paris region and on the French Riviera, this arrangement is now expanding to other regions of France, a momentum that has accelerated in recent months since the health crisis with some owners/vendors deciding to secure their financial future in this way.

For vendors, the BARNES Life Annuity option represents transparency and peace of mind, whether couples or single people.

And for buyers and investors, the financial arrangements are simplified compared to classic life annuity transactions, which can be a key advantage when it comes to obtaining a bank loan.

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(picture © Redzen - Adobe Stock)


BARNES Life Annuity - 81, avenue Kleber, 75116 Paris – tél. : +33 (0)1 55 61 40 27

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