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
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.