Tim Swannie, Director of Home Hunts reflects on the French property market in 2014 and gives his comments and predictions for 2015.
Home Hunts is looking towards the year ahead with cautious optimism. 2014 was such a year of contrasts that we cannot really predict a huge rise in property prices for 2015 BUT, we can confidently say the market will remain buoyant, particularly in the most sought after areas of France.
For Home Hunts, 2014 started so strongly; January was the busiest month we had seen for about 4 years with 16 sales agreed and lots of interest from international buyers. Bearing in mind that January is usually one of the quietest months of the year in terms of sales, we took this as a sign that things were set to explode! Unfortunately, the explosion didn’t really happen, we spent the next three months anticipating a big bang that just did not materialise, it was a little bit like a lit firework that doesn’t go off!
The market in France started to pick-up again towards the beginning of summer with busy months in May and June, this momentum continued throughout the summer months as we received a lot of interest in July and August. The second half of the year really made the difference for Home Hunts; we got a lot of interest from the UK because of the strength of the pound against the euro and this continues to be the case. We have had buyers from all over the world including China, the Middle East, America, South Africa, Brazil, Russia as well as all over Europe. We have also sold a wide range of properties such as apartments in Cannes and Paris, vineyards in Bordeaux, a chateau in Provence, waterfront villas on the Riviera and chalets in the French Alps.
There has been no real pattern in nationalities of buyers, areas or property styles that our clients have been looking for, but the common factor in all of the purchases has been that every single buyer has been looking for a ‘deal’.
All clients are taking advantage of this unique time in the French housing market to find their dream home, in their dream destination, at their dream price! We are perfectly placed to help them fulfil this dream; as a buyers’ agent, we are in touch with all of the selling agents and our team throughout France make it their mission to ensure they cover the entire market for our clients. The properties selling at the moment are those which have either been put on the market very recently and have been aggressively priced to sell, or those where the owner needs to sell and is willing to be flexible. If owners are not willing to take an offer then their property will sit on the market for a long time!
Home Hunts has been focusing on bringing our clients what they want this year; we have really been searching out the bargains and great opportunities which are too good to miss. A perfect example of this happened only a few weeks ago.
We found a stunning stone built property in Provence with owners that needed to sell-up for serious financial reasons. This beautiful home in the countryside has several hectares of land, swimming pool, tennis court and even a helipad. The asking price had been slashed by nearly 25% to find a buyer quickly and the new price was very interesting indeed. We immediately mailed and called our client base to let them know about the deal and received over 60 enquiries within 24 hours. Just 24 hours after that, the house had been sold for the full asking price! The buyer had flown over by private jet the very same day and immediately agreed to buy the property.
For 2015, we expect confidence to slowly continue growing since many savvy buyers are seeing there has never been a better time to buy in France. As mentioned, the interest rates and the exchange rates are a big contributing factor but the flexibility of prices is really the main reason that we believe there hasn’t been a better time to buy here for many, many years.
The French general elections are coming up in 2017 which is only two short years away and there is no doubt at all that there will be a change in government at that point. We are already being contacted from a wide range of developers, savvy investors and private clients, who are looking to take advantage of the favourable buying conditions and low prices now, in order to reap the rewards in a couple of years’ time. We have helped a number of clients to buy plots of land and renovation projects this year.
So, cautiously optimistic is our phrase of the moment. Our focus is to continue hunting-out bargains for our clients and our French team have become very adept at finding these special gems. So we will continue to hone our skills and try to bring people what they really want! We want to ensure that 2015 is the year of the deal!
About Home Hunts: Home Hunts specialise in finding luxury homes and investment properties throughout France, Monaco, Geneva, London and New York. Home Hunts is a leading buyers’ agent, whose role is to find the hidden gems that the property market has to offer. The award winning team collaborates with all of the best estate agents, notaires, developers and private sellers to provide the ultimate selection of properties in a desired area. Home Hunts work closely with their clients, offering unbiased advice and support throughout the entire buying process and beyond.
Sales Enquiries: Website: www.home-hunts.com
Tel: UK Tel: +44 (0)208 144 5501
France: +33 (0)970 44 66 43