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Rail boost for French property

21st August 2007 | back to article listings BACK    print this article PRINT

As anybody who has done their homework on the property market will know, the key to making good returns on an investment is having it in the right place. As the Channel 4 series of the same name says, "location, location, location" is of prime importance.

A key part of location is accessibility. Unless the investor has an eye to catering to a market that is seeking solitude and isolation way up in the hills - perhaps a writer on retreat, for example - the chances are they will want to make sure their property is easily accessible to all potential clients.

A number of reports earlier this year have concluded that it is beneficial to have an airport served by budget airlines in reach of the property. One German study found that there was as much as a 20 per cent difference in the returns made by investors, depending on their proximity to a budget airline landing zone.

Investors on the popular French market will no doubt be delighted then to hear that the country's famous high-speed rail system - TGV - is being expanded all the time and is set to cover even more of the country over the next few years. What is more, France can now be reached by rail from the UK via the Channel Tunnel, allowing for seamless almost door-to-door travel.

According to the Daily Telegraph, "the development of France's high-speed rail network is opening up potential new markets for overseas buyers". A new service between Paris and Strasbourg was launched earlier this month and reportedly cut travel times between the two cities by half.

The Telegraph claims that the new line "will increase property prices not just in Strasbourg itself but in other destinations too, such as Reims and Colmar", which are near enough to benefit from the new line.

And some commentators are suggesting that a growing trend towards environmentally-friendly tourism will result in more people using trains to get around, as they are less polluting than air or road transport.

Short-haul flights produce 180 grammes of carbon per passenger/kilometre, while cars produce on average 111g. In contrast, train emissions per passenger weigh in at just 5.7g.

"We're seeing an increased demand for rail travel from people who are keen to do their bit to help protect the environment," Amanda Monroe of European rail ticket provider Rail Europe told the Telegraph.

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