Thursday, June 20, 2013

Property bargains to be had in the Charente

I have just finished showing clients round a selection of properties in the Charente valley, including the magnificent house shown above which is in a prime location right by Cognac golf course.

We really did see some terrific houses - the weather wasn't kind which was most unusual in June but even with leaden grey skies my clients commented on the natural beauty of the shortlist we had put together.

As 2013 progresses it's becoming clearer that many owners see no sign of respite to the "crise financiere" and are willing to accept offers so that they can move on with their life.  This can only be good for the market as the gap between vendors & buyers expectations closes.

Whether it's stood outside the school gates, over dinner with friends or chatting with local agents & notaires I'm constantly hearing tales of houses being sold at well below "sticker price" - at all price levels.

Combine this with the ridiculously cheap cost of borrowing and the time could be right for picking up a property that has both long term capital growth potential and sheer natural beauty.

The houses we visited this week ranged from around €350-500,000 and I'd say that they would sit comfortably alongside any portfolio of country houses that are being offered by my old employers such as Savills, Jackson-Stops & Staff and Chestertons.

Just make sure you do your homework and work with someone who knows the local market intimately - that way you'll be able to negotiate hard and secure a bargain of your own.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Property world embraces pedal power

It's pretty clear from my Twitter timeline that the property industry is really embracing the cycling revolution.

Admirably led by the Estates Gazette and their iconic deputy editor @samanthamcclary the major agents, developers, investors and assorted hangers on are all donning their lycra.

The annual Cycle 2 Cannes ride has raised over £1 million pounds for property related charities and is supported by Savills, CBRE, DTZ and other worthies.  It's a ride that I'd love to get involved in and best of all I could cheat and join them halfway down France!

Today sees the start of a female only ride from London to Paris and, again, sees the property industry doing its bit for charity. They are riding 100 miles a day and you can follow them at @PedElle

All of this has driven me to buy myself a new bike to use when I'm seeing local agents or going to take a look around houses close to me.

If it works then I'm buying a tandem to take clients on - the first "eco-friendly" buying agent that not only finds you a house but offers personal training at the same that really is worthy of the word unique that we property folk like so much.

With Chris Froome looking good for Le Tour in a few weeks this cycling boom looks set to continue.  I was contacted by a TV production company yesterday who were quizzing me on cycling in the Charente - sadly I have a face for radio so don't expect to see me on your TV's any time soon but I'm sure that it would make a great feature.  Vine clad hillsides, ancient stone bridges spanning the prettiest stretch of river in France and a cycle friendly culture...what's not to like!