Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dubai property prices fall 41% in 3 months

Yup...that's not a mis-print.

My old friends at Colliers International have calculated that this last quarter has seen a staggering fall of 41% from the previous quarter.

"The heat has gone out the market completely," said Colliers' Middle East chief executive John Davis.

No kidding.....

Allez les Girondins

So, big match last night. Bordeaux away at Rennes needing to win to keep their title hopes alive.

One nil down after 19 seconds.

Our centre half unjustly sent off after 27 minutes.

Somehow we claw our way to a 2 v 1 lead only to see Rennes score in the 89th minute.

I hate football. the 4th minute of time added on we score a winner....pandemonium.

I love football.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Well, it made me chuckle.....

The following is the transcript of a radio conversation between a US naval ship and Canadian authorities off the Eastern Canadian coast.

Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

Canadians: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

Americans: This is the Captain of a US navy ship. I say again, divert your course.

Canadians: No, I say again, you divert your course.

Americans: This is the Aircraft Carrier USS Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States Atlantic Fleet. We are accompanied by three Destroyers, three Cruisers, and numerous support vessels. I demand that you change your course 15 degrees North, that's one five degrees North, or counter-measures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.

Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call!"

Friday, April 17, 2009

How not to earn a living....

1. Live in a sunny country.

2. Discover a brilliant "new" author.

3. Have the willpower of a gnat.

Just as the property market shows signs of picking up and I have two client briefs to fulfill I go and discover Mark Gimenez (

I'm two books down with two to go and as hooked as the (heroine) heroin addict in The Colour of Money.

I'm off to start the third one now so may not be updating this blog for a while.

Oh - if anyone knows of either a 3 ha plot of building land in Grande Champagne or a house/barns/stables and 4 ha+ paddock for sale in Southern Charente do please let me know so that I can continue my reading without interruption.

ps - she's not really the heroine....I was just trying to be clever.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

French schooling...

I'm sure that I never used to get homework until I was eleven and at secondary school. Even then I had a million and one excuses why I couldn't hand it in to the teachers.

It's not like that out here. The two girls are set homework every night and Holly (10) regularly spends 45 minutes or more conjugating verbs and practicing her multiplication. I often think it's too much after a long school day and encourage her to run through it speedily and go cartwheel down the garden like her sister.

Now I read that 86% of Charente pupils passed the Bac last year. This seems to me like a pretty decent success rate. The schooling system here isn't perfect but our experience over the last five years has been an excellent one. Caring and proficient teachers, strict rules sympathetically enforced and happy children.

With College (secondary school) looming on the horizon I hope this positive start to the girls education continues.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Rose to bloom in Augusta

OK - I know it has nothing to do with property or the Cognac region but it's US Masters time and I just love watching this famous old golf tournament (

This year I'm tipping two Englishmen to do well.

It's about time that Justin Rose won a major, he certainly has the talent and I fancy that this could be his year.

Then, seeing that a 100/1 shot won the national how about an even bigger shock and Oliver Wilson winning at his first ever attempt. He knows the course from his college days and is in fine form.

That's heard it here first and if it's a Rose/Wilson one two come Sunday night then I'm giving up my career in property and applying for a job as a tipster with the Sporting Life.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Stelios calls the bottom of the property market

So, the founder of easyjet is "calling" the bottom of the property market (both residential and commercial)

He's a brave man doing this on the day that the NIESR say that recovery won't come until 2012 and that RBS announce a further 9,000 job cuts.

I think he's stark raving bonkers and that prices still have a way to fall but, lets face it, nobody really knows when the property/stock markets have bottomed out....if we did we'd be sitting on a boat in the caribbean or buying ourselves an executive jet so that we never have to travel by Easyjet or Ryanair again.

Monday, April 06, 2009

No surprise there then....

So, this morning I read that Halifax are reporting a fall in UK house prices by 1.9% last month. Contradicting Nationwide who say that they actually rose by 0.9%.

We Brits are fixated on values. The major agents, banks and interested parties all employ bucket loads of analysts and researchers to publish glossy forecasts of future growth/retraction....all of which differ wildly.

Let's face it if our two biggest Building Societies can't agree on what's just happened then what chance do they have of letting us know what's around the corner?

I'd put money on my mother-in-law beating the lot of them. She know's nothing about economics, doesn't have an MBA but did manage to put £1 each way on "Mon Mome", 100/1 winner of Saturdays Grand National.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Charente property values remain stable

This was in my local paper yesterday:

The local notaires say that despite fewer transactions and fewer British buyers prices in Charente rose by 0.8% last year.

Now, who am I to contradict the might of our respected notaries but my experience has been that while window prices remain stable vendors have been far more open to low offers.

This leads me to think that the 0.8% rise is a statistical anomoly....there are relatively few transactions anyway and maybe people were just buying more expensive houses last year.

I'm still advising clients to go in below the asking price and drive a hard bargain and can't see this changing for a long time yet.

Still, it's good to see some positive news stories for a change rather than the doom mongering that's been going on since Lehman's collapsed.