Monday, August 29, 2011

French house prices rise for 5th quarter running

The latest French house price figures are out from the FNAIM and they show a further rise in prices this quarter of 3.3%.  The "year-on-year" rate of house price inflation currently stands at 6.8%.

You can see a snapshot of these figures from FrenchEntrée here or you can see the FNAIM report (in French) here.

I'm guessing that these figures actually come as a surprise to those of us on the ground who still consider that we're in a buyers market.  Of course, the FNAIM stats are only taken from their members - they don't include transactions from immobiliers who are not members, nor do they take into account private sales which count for as much as 50% of the market over here.

What we do know for sure is that  the French property market is historically robust and not inclined to great shifts in value either way.

If you're looking to buy property over here you should view it as a long term commitment, undertake plenty of research and not see it as a way of making a quick matter how attractive the headlines (or view from the bedroom window).

£77,000 premium to live near the best schools!

Fascinating article in The Independent today which you can read here. argue that people pay a £77,000 premium if a house is in the catchment area for a decent school: 

"For many years now the challenges of the catchment area-based lottery for state schools have vexed millions of parents across the UK," says Nigel Lewis, a property analyst at "Our research highlights how much it can cost to get your child into the ideal school".

My old friend from our days at Savills, Henry Pryor, says: 

"In some parts of the country the premium could be more than the £77,000. For example, in parts of Camden where I have a client looking to spend up to £1m, one side of the road can be as much as £100,000 more valuable because it is in the prescribed area for a good school".

Staggering isn't it and a sad indictment of modern life in London.

"The average cost of a house near one of Britain's top 50 state schools is £298,378 – 35 per cent above the UK average asking price of £221,110".

Just a cheeky thought but this is what that £298,378 would buy you in the catchment area of the terrific school in Gondeville (pictured above):

Thursday, August 11, 2011

20 top property blogs from "Quick Move Now"....

 ....another day another spot of recognition for A little drop of Cognac.

This time it's from UK company Quick Move Now who are the UK's leading home purchase specialists.

They kindly told me that this was "one of the first websites to be featured on the list – we recognise its position as an industry leading property-related website".

Praise indeed, perhaps even a tad over the top.... but, hey, who's complaining?

You can see the full listing of 20 blogs featured on the Quick Move website here.

My personal list would also have included:

If you have any others to add to the list do please let me know.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Property Week - Twitter top 100

I was thrilled to see that I have made the Property Week Twitter "Top 100".

It's a listing of the 100 most influential property folk online and includes agents, developers, journalists, public bodies and other luminaries.

I'm particularly flattered as I'm the only nominee from France....and a small town in the rural south west to boot!

Recognition like this (and the prestigious Primelocation blog awards I received in 2009 & 2010) are important to my business.

You see, trust is a major issue for any international purchaser of property in France.  The laws are different, the language is different, market data is difficult to come by and finding the "right" house on the internet is nigh on impossible.

Magazines and websites are flooded with people offering a "free" property finding service....hmm, let me think, will they show you everything that's on the market or just the tiny percentage of houses that they have been promised a commission from?

Awards like this - alongside high profile individuals such as Graham Norwood, Giles Barrie, Peter Bill and Andrew Waller and blue chip names such as Jones Lang Lasalle, Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE and the RICS - go a long way to establishing that trust.

Of course, 25 years property experience and eight years local knowledge of the prettiest villages and the best houses, restaurants, schools, notaires, agents and builders helps too.

So, merci beaucoup Property Week and keep up the good work.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Win a house worth €200,000 in the Martell promotion

 I have just read this article in Harpers Wine & Spirits review saying that this month Martell are launching an on-pack promotion offering consumers the chance to win a "luxury" home in the Cognac region. 

"Special promotional packs of 35cl, 70cl and 1L Martell VS will be available in off-trade channels offering consumers the chance to win a property worth over £200,000.

Senior brand manager for Martell, Pernod Ricard UK, James Robinson, says: "This neck tag promotion offers a truly unique prize that will drive rate of sale by creating increased stand out on shelf, while also reinforcing Martell's French heritage and quality credentials."

I went on to to try and find out some more info about the competition but got bored trying to navigate around (yes I watched the compulsory video and "found" the access code).

I know I'm knocking on a bit but it seems to me that their Marketing Director is more interested in winning awards for creativity than actually providing information for his customers.  It reminds me of the "Toucan" Guinness ads which won loads of awards but were dropped after sales fell's probably the same guy who has created the Martell site.

Anyway, best of luck with the competition if you decide to enter....