Price is right with a lit­tle savoir faire

The hot spots have hefty price tags and the ex­change rate is poor, so where do you find affordable French prop­erty? Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

THE most fash­ion­able ar­eas of France have been at­tract­ing wealthy Bri­tish buy­ers for decades, but those priced out of the Côte d’Azur, Provence and Paris have been forced to widen their search.

Now the poor ex­change rate means the need for cheaper al­ter­na­tives is even more press­ing.

The good news, says Pa­trick Joseph of Leeds-based prop­erty por­tal My French House, is that it is per­fectly pos­si­ble to find a home across the Chan­nel that is both affordable and ac­ces­si­ble.

Pa­trick be­lieves the Langue­doc re­gion in South West France is one of the coun­try’s most up-and-com­ing des­ti­na­tions and it is at­tract­ing in­ter­est from buy­ers look­ing for the laid-back French life­style with­out the Proven­cal price tag. “There has been a def­i­nite rise in de­mand for all types of prop­erty in the ar­eas around Beziers, Mont­pel­lier and Car­cas­sonne, which have good links with re­gional air­ports in­clud­ing Leeds Brad­ford,” says Pa­trick, who is half French.

“The land­scape in some ar­eas can be sim­i­lar to that found in Provence, en­com­pass­ing both moun­tains and coast. The things that orig­i­nally drew peo­ple to Provence like the un­spoilt coun­try­side and his­toric vil­lages, can be found here where many cen­turies-old tra­di­tions con­tinue to thrive.”

The coastal ar­eas of the Langue­doc may not at­tract the A-lis­ters who pop­u­late the Riviera ports of Cannes and St Tropez but lively mod­ern re­sorts like Port-Ca­mar­gue, one of Europe’s premier sail­ing re­sorts, host many re­gat­tas and wind­surf­ing events and their rep­u­ta­tion amongst the rich and fa­mous is cer­tainly grow­ing.

In the Langue­doc, you can find a three-bed­room vil­lage house in good con­di­tion for around 150,000 eu­ros. A villa with a pool costs from 300,000 eu­ros and a large coun­try house from 350,000 eu­ros, but will prob­a­bly re­quire work.

An­other re­gion at­tract­ing at­ten­tion is Green Perig­ord, north

Prop­erty of Dor­dogne, which is within easy reach of Li­mo­ges air­port. The Dor­dogne has long been a favourite with Bri­tish hol­i­day­mak­ers and sec­ond­home own­ers, and more than 6,000 Bri­tish na­tion­als cur­rently live in what is of­ten re­ferred to as Dor­dog­neshire. Prices in the Green Perig­ord re­gion, which lies across the north­ern part of the Dor­dogne, are more affordable than in some of the clas­sic favourites. The scenery of the Dronne val­ley is spec­tac­u­lar and is home to some very pic­turesque vil­lages such as Bran­tome and Saint Jean de Cole, ac­cord­ing to Pa­trick.

A coun­try house with an acre of land and out­build­ings costs around 200,000 eu­ros, though a My French House client re­cently and has bought one for 99,000 eu­ros. For a prop­erty with more land and a pool, you will pay around 300,000-350,000 eu­ros. Those who buy should have a safe in­vest­ment as prices across the chan­nel don’t usu­ally suf­fer the dra­matic peaks and troughs we have in Bri­tain.

“Peo­ple who have been put off buy­ing prop­erty in other parts of Europe be­cause of fall­ing prices are re­al­is­ing that homes in France don’t tend to de­value as much,” says Pa­trick. In fact, France’s na­tional as­so­ci­a­tion of es­tate agents, the FNAIM, is pre­dict­ing prop­erty price rises of be­tween three and six per cent this year.

“Buy­ers are look­ing for some­where they can get away to eas­ily for week­end breaks and hol­i­days but they also want prop­er­ties that have good rental po­ten­tial ,” says Pa­trick.

“They might have to shop around as you don’t get many eu­ros to the pound these days.

“The rate isn’t go­ing to go back to the dizzy heights of a few years ago, but it’s not all bad es­pe­cially if you are buy­ing a prop­erty from a Brit who bought a few years ago when the ex­change rate was in his favour. If he sells now and con­verts eu­ros to ster­ling he is mak­ing money,” says Pa­trick.

PIC­TURE: OMT CAR­CAS­SONNE.

PIED A TERRE: You can find affordable prop­erty in and around the medieval city of Car­cas­sonne.

Charm­ing Perigour­dine-style coun­try house and barn with land­scaped gar­dens of 3,700 sq m with views over the sur­round­ing coun­try­side. Con­tact: www.my-french-house. com

This prop­erty is in a quiet and pic­turesque area of the North Dor­dogne. It has out­build­ings con­verted into a guest bed­room, all on set on 5,000 sq m of land. Con­tact: www.my-french-house. com

A prop­erty suit­able for gites, B&B, or a large fam­ily. Com­prises two prop­er­ties with two bed­rooms plus a four bed prop­erty. Each has pri­vate ter­race plus ac­cess to grounds and pool. Con­tact: www. my-french-house.com

Four bed­room house in a vil­lage near Car­cas­sonne with 230 sq m of hab­it­able space plus a base­ment area of ap­prox. 75 sq m split into three rooms. Con­tact: www. my-french-house.com

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