Ask the agent

No one knows the area like a lo­cal es­tate agent. We asked Tim Boldry, of Ar­taxa, for the in­side track on Pyrénées-Ori­en­tales

Living France - - Destination -

What’s the cheap­est prop­erty you have on your books?

A charm­ing house in St-Paul-de-Fe­nouil­let be­tween the beach and the ski slopes. It has two dou­ble bed­rooms, a liv­ing room with a bal­cony and a kitchen/din­ing room with a wood-burn­ing stove. It costs just €50,000.

How much would you ex­pect to pay for:

a de­tached prop­erty with land? In the vil­lages, be­tween the beach and the moun­tains, around €250,000.

a three-bed­room town­house? Around the €120,000 to €180,000 mark.

a ren­o­va­tion op­por­tu­nity? There are some bar­gains to be had if you put in the work. We have a large rus­tic vil­lage house with five bed­rooms for €99,000.

What’s the most un­usual prop­erty you have sold in the past?

Most def­i­nitely a unique stone house built into the walls of a me­dieval château over­look­ing the pic­turesque vil­lage of La­tour-de-France. I sold it last year, but it re­ally was right out of a film set.

Is there a typ­i­cal ar­chi­tec­ture or style in the re­gion?

Yes, the typ­i­cal style is stone and red brick. As Pyrénées-Ori­en­tales is in French Cat­alo­nia on the bor­der of Spain, and was part of Spain un­til 1659, there are nu­mer­ous old Cata­lan mas (dis­tinc­tive stone farm­houses) to see. There are also plenty of Mediter­ranean-style vil­las around, de­signed to make the most of the sun­shine.

Why do Bri­tish peo­ple buy houses in Pyrénées-Ori­en­tales?

On the whole, prop­er­ties in the area rep­re­sent ex­cep­tional value for money, given that we are per­fectly si­t­u­ated with the sea, the moun­tains and Spain close by, and Per­pig­nan is easy to get to by air, car or train. Be­ing the south­ern­most part of France, it’s the ex­cep­tional cli­mate which a lot of Brits find im­pos­si­ble to re­sist!

What ad­vice would you give to some­body who is think­ing of buy­ing in your area?

The first job is to de­cide where you want to be – closer to the beach or the moun­tains or be­tween the two and how near you’d like to be to Spain. Once you have done this, you can start look­ing for your ideal prop­erty. Also, work out ex­actly what you have to spend in euros by reg­is­ter­ing with a cur­rency ex­change com­pany; you may have more than you think!

What are your pre­dic­tions for the prop­erty mar­ket in Pyrénées-Ori­en­tales?

Prices in Pyrénées-Ori­en­tales are low, the ex­change rate is still favourable, and if you need a mort­gage, you can get a good fixed rate, so to my mind there hasn’t been a bet­ter time to buy dur­ing the last 10 years. More houses are com­ing onto the mar­ket at re­al­is­tic prices, so per­son­ally, I ex­pect the up­turn to con­tinue.

What’s your favourite part of the re­gion?

Mount Canigou, which at 2,784m tow­ers over the plain to the beach and is snow­capped for most of the year. It’s a beau­ti­ful and dra­matic sight to see, from all cor­ners!

De­scribe your depart­ment in five words.

Sun, beach, ski­ing, wine, moun­tains.

ar­taxa.com

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