Monday, June 28, 2010

Daily Mail right about golf in France

Yet another mention in the national papers for yours truly - this time alongside my esteemed colleagues at Knight Frank & Cluttons.

The Daily Mail ran this article about buying properties on golf courses in France. I'm quoted as saying:

Does that mean owning a property abroad, close to a golf course, is out of reach for anyone but the very rich?

'That's not true, if you are prepared to think independently and get away from the purpose-built developments,' says Graham Downie, of FrenchEntree Property Services.

'It's a mystery why golfers feel the need to flock together and pay for the privilege of living next to people from the same country. I would recommend buying a place near to The Royal Medoc club in Bordeaux. This is a golfers' paradise - civilised and quiet.

'For £250,000 you could pick up a fine home with a swimming pool - and enjoy the real France.'

I absolutely believe it too.  Having played golf on the finest courses in Spain & Portugal I'd say that those in France are quieter and equally as good.  Property is far better value too where you could pick up a house with private pool for less than a small apartment with shared facilities on the costa del sol.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

London Standard - Brits are moving to the charente...

Nice to see some comments from yours truly in this article from the Homes & Property section of the London Standard.

"Brits want old Charentaise stone houses with pool and views over the vines," says Graham Downie of Cognac Property. Outside Cognac a four-bedroom house costs £139,250 though Downie suggests budgeting £217,280 to £261,100 for a detached property with views. "In Cognac or Jarnac a two or three-bedroom town house costs £87,030, or £130,550 for something special," says Downie.

I did get castigated by my friend Tim (who as MD of the most profitable ad agency in the WPP empire should know his stuff) for using the word "Brits".  He says:

"By the way, using the phrase 'Brits' is the equivalent of saying trap (instead of bunker) or calling it the British Open - hang your head".

My apologies to all - I blame Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood.

Rightmove chairman sells £8 million of shares

Reports today that Ed Williams, the founding MD of Rightmove, has sold just under £8 million of shares in the company. This represents around half of his holding.

My feeling is that this is indeed the right move for Mr Williams as it (coincidentally?) coincides with the ratcheting up of the marketing for the Google property portal.

Rightmove is such a dominant force in the UK residential property scene that I can't see it being knocked off its' number one perch for a while.  However, I certainly can see a seismic shift in the medium term and much will depend upon the appetite of Google and what size slice of the pie it wishes to consume.

Andrew Barber and his team at Revolution:PR have written a most interesting article on this whole debate and you can read their thoughts here.

Meanwhile if Mr Williams is looking for a safe haven for his £8 million there are one or two decent investment properties around the Cognac area that look a better bet than the volatile stock market or the over-valued UK property arena.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Three Peaks challenge to be tightest ever

Forget the world cup....the biggest tournament this week is going to be the annual Three Peaks golf challenge.

Following the sensational drawn match in Biarritz last year the teams will be arriving at the Gloucester Hotel & Country club on Wednesday.

I often use the famous Gary Player quote "The more I practice the luckier I get" which I think has a wider context than just on a golf course.  It stems from a time when he holed out from a bunker during a competition.  A journalist subsequently called him lucky and Player took umbrage.  He explained that he had built a practice bunker in his garden and kept hitting hundreds of shots each day until he fully expected to hole out each time he took his stance.

Sadly, this year I have been too busy to undertake any kind of practice at all and I fear that my golf will reflect this.

It's the first time in twenty years that I will be entering a tournament so ill prepared and I just have to hope that muscle memory kicks in and that a positive mental attitude will see me through.

I'll let you know how it goes.

International buyers heading back to France

Apologies for the lack of posts but I have been busy.  Regular readers will know that I have half a dozen active search mandates and I'm currently negotiating two house acquisitions on behalf of clients.

Good news from one of my colleagues in the FrenchEntrée Property Finders network who has just been mandated to find a €6 million house for an international buyer.

This follows hot on the heels of a €1.2 million acquisition by Rebecca Russell in Nice on behalf of one of her overseas clients.

It's still not the heady days of the mid-noughties but things are certainly picking up.