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Buying property - market trends?

Buying property - market trends?

Old Sep 6th 2014, 1:29 am
  #1  
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Default Buying property - market trends?

From reading the threads I think I'm right in saying it's a buyer's market just now. Some questions...

1. How long has it been like this and any ideas on why/causes?

2. Is it likely to continue and if so, how long, how many years, do you think a buyer has before it swings the other way?

I'm thinking small house/cottage around Brittany 35 area, 2 beds max and rural rather than town/city.
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Old Sep 6th 2014, 9:30 am
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

Originally Posted by JWL View Post
From reading the threads I think I'm right in saying it's a buyer's market just now. Some questions...

1. How long has it been like this and any ideas on why/causes?

2. Is it likely to continue and if so, how long, how many years, do you think a buyer has before it swings the other way?

I'm thinking small house/cottage around Brittany 35 area, 2 beds max and rural rather than town/city.
Personally I wouldn't come in to French house market with the same attitudes you use when buying a house in the UK, The average time it takes to sell a house here is about 2 years it's just a way of life it's been like that forever and will stay like that probably.

The French prefer to complete at the beginning of January/end of December the main reasoning is it affects the taxe fonciere habitation payments who ever owns the property on the 1st january gets the bills for those taxes. Although these days it gets subdivided via mutual agreement and when the seller gets there bill they send it to you with their share.



The French do not view property with great big profit making ideas like the English and don't buy thinking you will make loads of money you won't.




Property renovation here is an expensive folly one of the main reasons for this is running a business in France is very costly and this gets kicked down to customer my experience with French trades men has been very good they've down what they said they would and well and all turned up and they billed accordingly although one thing I have noticed in the north is bills can turn up late a year later never think they've forgotten. Im not a fan of terraced houses or apartments here, there is a neighbourly dispute thread which will show you how difficult it is to solve unneighbourly issues when it all goes wrong.

Dont buy windows in England because they are cheaper to stick on your French house they will clash with the shutters here French windows open inwards, modern ones have roller shutters built into the top which need a longer curtain rail bar if you use curtains or nets.

Dont buy electrical cable in the UK twin and earth does not meet French electrical standards. Bare earth is not allowed, buried cable needs to be in "Gain" and the cables are threaded through separately reasoning are two fold easy to upgrade and replace cables in walls and second should a drill piece the gain it is easy for loose wires inside to deflect away from a drill bit.

Plumbing stuff, French plumbers braze everything and will avoid using off the shelf fittings at all cost even though every plumbing merchant and shop has them, they step down the pipe sizes from the main with the aim that should someone flush the loo you won't notice in in the shower and no cold water header tank in the loft is used at all everything relies on the 4/5 bar pressure from the mains which means here electrical hot water tanks need to have an overflow fitted to them.



Some of it begins to make sense lots of it still baffles me to this day..

Last edited by Chatter Static; Sep 6th 2014 at 9:39 am.
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Old Sep 6th 2014, 9:58 am
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

Congratulations on getting your post on the forum!

This thread is going to be easily found by Google in the years to come so we all run the risk of our answers looking clever or stupid in hindsight.

Since, 1988, I have been quite active as an investor in the French property market, though most of my experience is in the south east and south west.

I sold most of my portfolio in 2006, which proved to be the top of the market. I can't claim to have foreseen the sub-prime meltdown - it was simply that buyers were plentiful and had taken to knocking on doors and making silly offers. This in itself probably indicated a market peak.

Since the crash many owners (especially the non-French) put their properties up for sale and most of them are still unsold. I slowly unloaded some other properties but as CS said, it took a long time and the price was "negotiated" very energetically by the buyers.

Last year there was a little upturn because people thought the market had bottomed and I succeeded in selling the remainder I had put up for sale.

I have kept a couple of houses, both new, on small plots, in a commuting area (but still in the country) and sub-€400K. These will sell at any time to working, professional French as they are the only ones who can borrow at the moment and the lenders will only accept new, sub-€400K properties. There are, of course, exceptions but I am talking generally.

My view, which most regulars will know, is that things are going to get worse in France, mainly because the government has done nothing to address its structural problems and Germany's patience is being sorely abused.

The mini-upturn last year shows there are people in the wings, like yourself, waiting to pounce. It's just my view that now is not the right time to buy although it could well be the right time to start looking and deciding on areas, type or property etc.

Remember to investigate the tax position as well - the French government needs your money!

Last edited by InVinoVeritas; Sep 6th 2014 at 10:02 am.
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Old Sep 6th 2014, 10:55 am
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

Originally Posted by Chatter Static View Post
Personally I wouldn't come in to French house market with the same attitudes you use when buying a house in the UK, The average time it takes to sell a house here is about 2 years it's just a way of life it's been like that forever and will stay like that probably.

The French prefer to complete at the beginning of January/end of December the main reasoning is it affects the taxe fonciere habitation payments who ever owns the property on the 1st january gets the bills for those taxes. Although these days it gets subdivided via mutual agreement and when the seller gets there bill they send it to you with their share.



The French do not view property with great big profit making ideas like the English and don't buy thinking you will make loads of money you won't.




Property renovation here is an expensive folly one of the main reasons for this is running a business in France is very costly and this gets kicked down to customer my experience with French trades men has been very good they've down what they said they would and well and all turned up and they billed accordingly although one thing I have noticed in the north is bills can turn up late a year later never think they've forgotten. Im not a fan of terraced houses or apartments here, there is a neighbourly dispute thread which will show you how difficult it is to solve unneighbourly issues when it all goes wrong.

Dont buy windows in England because they are cheaper to stick on your French house they will clash with the shutters here French windows open inwards, modern ones have roller shutters built into the top which need a longer curtain rail bar if you use curtains or nets.

Dont buy electrical cable in the UK twin and earth does not meet French electrical standards. Bare earth is not allowed, buried cable needs to be in "Gain" and the cables are threaded through separately reasoning are two fold easy to upgrade and replace cables in walls and second should a drill piece the gain it is easy for loose wires inside to deflect away from a drill bit.

Plumbing stuff, French plumbers braze everything and will avoid using off the shelf fittings at all cost even though every plumbing merchant and shop has them, they step down the pipe sizes from the main with the aim that should someone flush the loo you won't notice in in the shower and no cold water header tank in the loft is used at all everything relies on the 4/5 bar pressure from the mains which means here electrical hot water tanks need to have an overflow fitted to them.



Some of it begins to make sense lots of it still baffles me to this day..

That's useful info, I'm sure, but...um..is there an answer to my questions in there?? I've read a few times, but not seeing it..

Oh, to clarify: retirement property only for me, for life and no hurry - within next 4 years or so is the time schedule. Not looking to buy anything that requires extensive building, just pay up and move in. Also, will pay cash.

Does it really take 2 years to complete a purchase???

Last edited by JWL; Sep 6th 2014 at 10:58 am. Reason: Extra info
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Old Sep 6th 2014, 11:04 am
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

It goes against my grain because I prefer to purchase houses from the French but the gems out there are more likely to be owned by Brits desperate to sell as our hosts will hold out for the best price hence how long it takes to sell.

Far to many people went out on a limb after watching "a place in the sun" or one of it other channel counterparts and purchased at the peak, 80 percent of the houses we looked out on our last house hunt were British owned holiday homes and in all honesty I don't think property is being correctly valued at the moment here people are still holding out for unrealistic higher prices thinking the market will bounce back.

We lost a little on our last house sale but got back exactly what we paid for it not a great deal but the new purchase was rock bottom and will adjust the loss in time as it's all relative.

Last edited by Chatter Static; Sep 6th 2014 at 11:12 am.
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Old Sep 6th 2014, 5:41 pm
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

Originally Posted by JWL View Post
From reading the threads I think I'm right in saying it's a buyer's market just now. Some questions...

1. How long has it been like this and any ideas on why/causes?

2. Is it likely to continue and if so, how long, how many years, do you think a buyer has before it swings the other way?

I'm thinking small house/cottage around Brittany 35 area, 2 beds max and rural rather than town/city.
In Brittany (and many other places) there are lots of properties at relatively cheap prices, especially in rural areas. It is a buyers market, in part because many expats have been forced to give up in the last 6 years or so. There's no sign at the moment of a turnaround, but as CS said, don't expect that you'll ever make a profit on an eventual resale. You won't in most cases. Areas like Brittany have seen, and will continue to see, depopulation of rural ares as work can only be found in larger centres (if at all).

Originally Posted by JWL View Post
Does it really take 2 years to complete a purchase???
You misunderstood that. 2 years, perhaps longer, is the average time to sell. If you find something you want and have an offer accepted, expect several months for the deal to be concluded though.

Good hunting.
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Old Sep 6th 2014, 11:42 pm
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

Originally Posted by Novocastrian View Post
It is a buyers market, in part because many expats have been forced to give up in the last 6 years or so. .

Why?
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Old Sep 6th 2014, 11:49 pm
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

Originally Posted by JWL View Post
Why?
The pound hung around parity with the euro for several years after 2008, down from much higher levels earlier in the decade. In addition many people from the UK lost their jobs or found themselves in negative equity in the UK, etc. etc.

In France, leaving aside the periodic spurts of interest in second homes from foreigners, not only brits but in Brittany predominantly so, there is no such thing as a sellers market anyway. This may be less true in e.g. Paris but I've never followed that in detail.
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Old Sep 7th 2014, 10:11 am
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

I'm not sure Novo is right when he says 'forced to sell'. Many people came here from the UK without the slightest knowledge of France or the French and it came as a nasty surprise when things weren't the same as home, behaviour was different, food was different, people don't speak English, all of which is a pointer leading to the advice to rent somewhere Before buying and committing yourself. I seem to remember Reading somewhere that a third of all Brits who move to France return to the UK within 3 years.
PS we love it here and hope you will too.
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Old Sep 7th 2014, 10:18 am
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

Originally Posted by Blackladder View Post
I'm not sure Novo is right when he says 'forced to sell'. Many people came here from the UK without the slightest knowledge of France or the French and it came as a nasty surprise when things weren't the same as home, behaviour was different, food was different, people don't speak English, all of which is a pointer leading to the advice to rent somewhere Before buying and committing yourself. I seem to remember Reading somewhere that a third of all Brits who move to France return to the UK within 3 years.
PS we love it here and hope you will too.
Regards
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No problem - eyes pretty much wide open. I majored in French and have family there. Lived in four countries over the years, so quite experienced in the ways of these funny foreign types. I don't see too many major problems, although I have to say the way the UK has gone, it's a bonus that the French don't speak the same language, behave differently, and have different food...
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Old Sep 7th 2014, 4:05 pm
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

Originally Posted by Blackladder View Post
I'm not sure Novo is right when he says 'forced to sell'. Many people came here from the UK without the slightest knowledge of France or the French and it came as a nasty surprise when things weren't the same as home, behaviour was different, food was different, people don't speak English, all of which is a pointer leading to the advice to rent somewhere Before buying and committing yourself. I seem to remember Reading somewhere that a third of all Brits who move to France return to the UK within 3 years.
PS we love it here and hope you will too.
Regards
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Agreed. I was trying to be succinct, but of course there are and always will be, people like that. We see them all the time on this forum and on all the other BE fora for other countries. My point was that in the years since 2008 there have been additional pressures which increased the "normal" turnover of disillusioned dreamers quitting their place in the sun.

Originally Posted by JWL View Post
No problem - eyes pretty much wide open. I majored in French and have family there. Lived in four countries over the years, so quite experienced in the ways of these funny foreign types. I don't see too many major problems, although I have to say the way the UK has gone, it's a bonus that the French don't speak the same language, behave differently, and have different food...
It sounds as if you know what you're getting into, something which was fairly clear all the while from your other posts. My remarks were simply meant to disabuse you of the very un-French notion that property can be a profit-making speculative investment in rural France.

Best of luck in your enterprise.
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Old Sep 7th 2014, 4:31 pm
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

Yes it rather sounds like JWL has already made his decision which is very good news for any members in Brittany wanting to sell up.

Fora?!?!
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Old Sep 7th 2014, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

Originally Posted by InVinoVeritas View Post
Yes it rather sounds like JWL has already made his decision which is very good news for any members in Brittany wanting to sell up.

Fora?!?!
Sorry. Blame my Latin master at O-level. But it's a correct plural even though forums is more common.
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Old Sep 7th 2014, 5:28 pm
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

No, I'm sorry. It wasn't my agendum to query your grammar
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Old Sep 7th 2014, 5:46 pm
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Default Re: Buying property - market trends?

Originally Posted by InVinoVeritas View Post
No, I'm sorry. It wasn't my agendum to query your grammar
True. Have a glass of wine.
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