Monday, December 13, 2010

Is French property a "safe haven"?

There's quite a startling article on This is Money today. It has the headline "Dream is crumbling for home owners in PIGS" and you can read the full story here.

It highlights the drop in house prices in Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain and says that there are "fears that some properties could become unsaleable in the short term".

I have little direct knowledge of these markets but a slight grin did come to my face when I read that buyers from the continent and Russia have kept the Portuguese market buoyant...I'd love to know the transaction numbers that back up that particular assertation!

I guess that the good news from the story comes at the start:

"About 425,000 Britons have homes abroad, according to market research company Mintel, with 6.5m more dreaming of owning a place in the sun".

I'm absolutely convinced that there is a huge wave of UK buyers waiting for "the right time" to buy a property in France and that once confidence is restored transaction numbers of international buyers over here are going to soar.  Of course, nobody can possibly say whether this will be in six months or six years.

What we can say though is that France has one of the most robust and stable property markets in the world.  It is not reliant on buyers from the UK, Russia or anywhere else and historically it simply hasn't been prone to rampant inflation or the subsequent deflation.

As the well named and always articulate Melanie Bien says in the article:

"Ownership should be for the long term, with decisions to buy and sell not based on knee-jerk reactions to what is happening day to day".

And I, for one, can't think of a better long term country to buy in than France.

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