Wednesday, August 26, 2009
French estate agents still facing problems
A recent report from the Notaires de France states that the number of completed house sales this year could fall to an unprecedented 500,000....the lowest figure since 1992.
As discussed before it's the number of transactions, rather than actual house prices, that are important to estate agents and already 365 FNAIM agencies have closed this year along with some high profile UK specialists such as VEF.
Local towns such as Jarnac, Segonzac, Cognac, Chateauneuf and Angouleme have sadly also seen plenty of agencies go under with many others now for sale.
Private sales seem to be increasing with sites such as http://www.leboncoin.fr/ and http://www.pap.fr/ proving popular but you'd have to be an incredibly brave, knowledgeable and adventurous individual to tackle a private sale in a foreign country without professional advice.
Of course there are still an abundance of good agencies around with some cracking properties on their books. Prices across France are reported to have fallen around 8% (although to be honest this figure is pretty meaningless as valuation is such an inexact art in France and the variety of regions & prices renders a country wide statistic pretty useless).
My own view is that the market is recovering slowly from a virtual halt, post Lehmans . I have been retained to find properties by four new clients over the last few months and have bought a couple of really nice properties so far with high hopes for viewing trips in September.
There is still a huge demand from UK buyers to move to France and enjoy the beautiful weather, countryside, pace of life and bargain prices. The tap is back on again and the trickle will turn into a stream for sure (this is the third real property slump of my illustrious career, it's a cyclical business as I'm sure you know).
It's certainly a buyers market and will be for a year or two longer so to maximise the return on your investment I would urge you to use a buyers agent to represent you if you're thinking of taking the plunge.
If you don't fancy the charente valley (in which case you'd appoint me of course) you can find a suitable representative by clicking here.
Meanwhile I'm off out to share a coffee with one of my favourite, surviving, agents and to look through his book to find that "perfect" plot of land I have been retained to find.