France filled with bargains

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France filled with bargains

News Article Date: Monday 27th of July 2009

When it comes to buying property overseas, every market is different. Countries like the US, Spain and Ireland saw major booms in recent years that have turned into very deep busts. Others, such as France, Germany and Italy, have been more stable and gradual markets, where price rises were smaller and subsequent falls correspondingly more modest. France falls into the latter category, but as the Guardian has pointed out, this is more true of its domestic market - where banks have been more restrained with lending than in places with property booms - than in the overseas buyer sector. This segment, it noted, has suffered a major hit from the credit crunch. Reporting on the slide in prices in properties such as holiday homes, the paper noted the experience of people such as plumber Maxwell Buller from Bournemouth, who was recently able to acquire a property in the Dordogne for 82,000, with the price having been 110,000 three months back. He commented: "That reduction has roughly compensated for the slide in the euro-sterling exchange rate and allows me enough to do some renovation work. I'll go there roughly once every three weeks to get the work done, then I expect it will be about ten weeks a year in two or three visits. It's a dream come true." Such prices may be a dream come true for investment buyers as well, since such a property could be attractive to tourists as a rental holiday home. Mr Buller's comments about the exchange rate may be significant too, not just because the weaker pound can be offset by lower prices, but because that very weakness is diminishing. The appreciation of sterling against the Euro will bolster British buyers even more, editor of French Property News Karen Tait told the paper. She stated: "As the pound starts to rally against the euro, French property can only represent even better value. Buyers are also taking advantage of low rates for French mortgages and are more clued up with regards to getting the best currency deals these days." Moreover, the Independent reports, the improving pound has tempted some Britons owning French properties to cash in, increasing the choice available to buyers. Chris Bishop from UK-based French property specialist firm Latitudes observed: "The euro has strengthened against the pound and this means that Britons who have bought in France have enjoyed an uplift, so quite a few are looking to cash in, which ensures a steady supply of new instructions." So it seems that for investors, buying in France now could be a win-win situation, with prices down, the pound rising and choice growing
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