Is now the time to buy a bargain in France? The last few months have seen - perhaps inevitably - a tailing off of UK buyers looking to purchase across the channel. The economic downturn has provided a number of reasons why this may be so.
Among these are the general effects of the recession, making some wary of investment or reducing the value of their financial assets and income. Some may have had trouble selling a UK property to raise the funds to buy in France. Another factor is that the pound has been weak against the euro, automatically making property in most of Europe costlier.
Yet there are still plenty of people looking to the country, as has been noted by overseas real estate website property-abroad.com, which revealed that France remains as high as third in its list of popular overseas buyer destinations for June.
Director Les Calvert commented that the country has suffered heavily from the credit crunch in much the same way other established markets in Europe have. He explained: "Unfortunately for France, property sales have only really declined in the last few months and prices have held pretty firm. Analysts on the ground think prices will start to fall later this year, at which point the bargain hunters will start to find what they are looking for."
So for many, there will be a lot of bargains about and that view may have the backing of the Bank of England's newest Monetary Policy Committee member Adam Posen. Speaking to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee today (July 15th), he predicted that the pound will be trading at a higher rate against the euro in the medium term, something that would immediately benefit those looking to buy in France or any other eurozone country.
When it comes to where investors may look, Frenchestateagents.com has suggested the Dordogne is a prime candidate. The portal noted that the region has over 4,000 chateaux - ten per cent of the nation's total - and in addition to its scenery and wine-growing areas possesses plenty of good access to the UK through the airports at Limoges, Bergerac and Bordeaux.
The portal noted all this while advertising a four-bedroom house at €376,000, a price that equates to £322,000 at present. But if Mr Posen is right, €376,000 will soon amount to many fewer pounds than 322,000. Moreover, if Mr Calvert is also correct, properties of that kind will cost less than €376,000 anyway.
So there may be good reasons for the total number of investors in French property to increase in number in the next few months.
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