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occasional newsletter - SUMMER 2017_________________________________HOME PAGE


* New properties for sale

* An explanation of how our agency works

* The market: has it bottomed out?

Six new properties ranging from a small gite business to some bijou estates

A reminder of how GITES à la française operates ... unlike 'normal' agencies!

The property market in rural France is not dead yet

New properties

Quercy gite business

Quercy Blanc - Lot&Garonne - Gite business - €364,000

A classic house + 2 gites set-up on the outskirts of a small village in the Quercy Blanc, a lovely region between Lot and Garonne rivers. There's a pool, a big barn for expanding the business and a nice shady garden. more

Aude  gite complex near Fanjeaux

Aude - Fanjeaux : Gite business - €625,000

A real 'lifestyle' property with two little gites providing enough income to cover costs, this fine property boasts six bedrooms and 4 reception rooms. Could be used as a B&B. 3 hectares of land including a small lake and pool. Just 30 minutes from Carcassonne and its airport and down the road from Fanjeaux, extraordinary mediaeval village and ecclesiastical centre. more

Luxury gite and house on 20 hectare estate

Puymaurin - Haute Garonne - Luxury gite - €850,000

This property is back on the market after a sale fell through. 17th century farmhouse and 4-star gite on a 20 hectare estate south of Toulouse. Superb pool, a lake, walnut plantations and meadows, views of the Pyrenees ... this property has it all. more

Rocamadour gite complex

Rocamadour/Gramat - North Lot - Gite complex - €560,000

This is more an investment business than 'lifestyle' property: the owner does not live on site. However, the 4 custom-built gites and the two 5-bedroomed 'villas' complete with big 14m pool near one of France's major tourist attractions can produce a greater ROI than many other investments. more

Dordogne gite business

Dordogne Valley/South Corrèze - Gite and B&B business - €567,000

For buyers looking for both B&B capacity and working gites in the same property then this is for you. Just north of the Lot (by 400 metres) it lies in the upper Dordogne valley just 20 mins east of Sarlat. Created and run by a perfectionist couple there is stricly NO WORK TO BE DONE on this property. Good value for money. more

B&B near Albi

Quercy Blanc - Lot - "Very Big Gite" - €649,000

This is a designated 'Very Big Gite', meaning it has 10 bedrooms and can sleep 28 guests. These gites are in very short supply and tend to work 10 or 12 months a year. There's also a heated pool, spa with jacuzzi and sauna, owner's house and a vast tobacco-drying barn for expanding the business. Nice setting beside a stream near the village of Moncuq. more

GITES à la française - a specialist agency

Many of our faithful customers will not need reminding that GITES à la française is not an ordinary agency ... nor is it run by ordinary people!

Firstly, it's a specialist agency dealing in only gite complexes, B&Bs and associated tourist and lifestyle properties. We don't sell ordinary homes. This means that our approach is quite different to other agents. A gite business is not a 2-bedroomed flat in the suburbs of some big city. It is (usually) a going concern with a history of turnover figures, costs and marketing strategy. It will normally be sold as such including all the furniture, fixtures and fittings needed to exploit the premises immediately.

This 'business' aspect means that we have to communicate with potential buyers before the viewing process takes place. We want to know if the buyer is ready to make the move (this year), whether he has funding in place, whether she knows the difference between a gite and a chambre d'hôte.

The buyer will want information on turnover, costs and location. She may enquire about development potential.

Only when both parties are satisfied that they have enough information to warrant a viewing does the next stage start: arranging a morning or afternoon (most viewings take about 2 hours: time to visit the whole premises and time to chat with the owners - always present) to view the property with myself. Not a 20-something who knows nothing about property but a personally-accompanied visit with the MD of the agency. Buyers are making a 2000 km trip in many cases and we are driving up from our base in Toulouse - often a two hour journey - so it is inconceiveable that we will be able to respond positively to the odd client who rings us and says "I'm in the Dordogne this afternoon: any chance of viewing a few properties?".

The same goes for summer visits. Unlike other agents we don't do summer viewings. This is when our vendors are hard at work making the vast bulk of their income. The last thing they need is curious buyers taking up their time and poking into (untidy) guest bedrooms. So do not expect us to arrange viewings in the high season: 7th July - 16th August.

Serious buyers of gite businesses and B&Bs use the summer months to familiarise themselves with the different French regions: Dordogne and Lot with their chateaux and twee villages, the Tarn with Albi at its centre, Languedoc and the mighty citadel (and drawing power) of Carcassonne. Then, in September/October they ask us to organise a two-day trip to view up to 5 properties. We spend from 9am to 6pm with them, viewing, explaining, lunching (the two-hour lunch-break not dead yet in France!) and, above all, talking with the vendors. At the end of the visit they make a short-list of say, two properties, which they will visit again later in the month with a builder or advisor.

The next step is to sign a compromis de vente with the owner at the notaire's. Three months later (January or February) the sale is completed ... giving the buyer plenty of time to prepare the new season.

In short: please understand that we cannot respond to curt requests to "view a property tomorrow". We don't work like that: there must be a mutual exchange of information first and, secondly, the vendor's position must also be considered: she may not be able or willing to show her property in a short timeframe or during the high season.

The market is bottoming out

As we have pointed out many times, prices of rural properties in France did not fall dramatically after the 2008 financial crisis as they did in the UK, Ireland or USA. The fall has been gradual. At the time "The Economist" reckoned that French property was over-valued by some 37%. And sure enough, prices have slowly slid to roughly 30% of pre-2008 values.

Unfortunately, but understandably, vendors of properties bought before the crisis are keen on getting back their investment. Hence the high, seemingly immobile, asking prices for a number of properties. These people are now beginning to see reason: we recently sold a big 1000m² property near Carcassonne (ref 104 - watermill) which had been on the market at €850k for ... €530k.

Added to this sudden realisation that property can lose value we have an influx of new buyers on to the market: Swiss retirees, Irish adventurers, American refugees and Belgian families. Soon there will probably be returning French exiles from the UK. All in all, this should mean that existing asking prices will stay firm and new properties coming on to the market will be keenly priced.

Simon Says: Our thoughts go out to the poor people of Britain who have seen Sterling slide towards parity with the Euro over the past year. Yes, French properties may be more expensive as a result but there is a silver lining: there are British vendors in France who want to go back to the UK ... and they will be willing to negotiate their price as their euros will buy more quids than before!

Once again, the best way to contact us is by email. I rarely answer the phone as I'm on the road most of the time.

Simon Oliver

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