Interview: an agent in south-west France

Interview: an agent in south-west France

Julie Savill of Beaux Villages Immobilier shares her view of the current property market across the south west of France

What part of France do you cover?

Beaux Villages is based in the south-west of France and covers a huge territory from Poitiers in the north down to the Pyrénées in the south, from the coast across into Lot and Tarn-et-Garonne, and right down to the Camargue on the Mediterranean.

What kind of budget does your typical British client have?

Budgets vary greatly and much depends on where you want to base your search. Hotspots around the pretty bastide towns or near Bordeaux command a premium of €350,000 or more, whereas areas such as Deux-Sèvres or Vienne are still in the ‘best-kept secret’ category, where your money goes quite a bit further.

What kind of properties are currently proving popular with your British buyers?

The typical dream purchase is an old stone cottage, sympathetically renovated with original features and a manageable garden. Near the village of Lusignac in Dordogne, a four-bedroom property with just over two acres of land and views across the valley is on the market for €250,000. There are also many people who appreciate the low-maintenance aspect of a new-build property, especially if they want to enjoy their breaks in France sightseeing rather than tackling DIY. A modern, four-bedroom villa set in the beautiful Tarn-et-Garonne countryside, not far from bustling towns with all facilities, is on the market at €207,760, a very accessible first step on the French property ladder.

How is the French property market looking to you at the moment?

There’s no doubt that the property market has been under pressure over recent years, but there is a feeling that things are now changing. More people have been wishing to view property this spring and they are committed to buy, with finance in place. It is still a great time to be hunting for the ideal property; there is a lot on the market, prices are realistic and the exchange rate is the best it has been since 2012.

What are your predictions for the market over the next six months?

The signs are that this is going to be a stronger year for property sales in France, something that won’t be missed by vendors who may well harden their position regarding price negotiations.

What are the cheapest and most expensive properties on your books now?

We have everything from an €18,000 barn to a rare fortified château for €21,000,000.

What is your property pick of the month?

We have a wide variety of properties that are up and running as successful businesses and this one is exceptional: a beautifully renovated and maintained stone house with two guest cottages, lovely grounds, two ponds and a swimming pool. All this is set among the vines of Dordogne, with country views from all angles. It’s on the market at €625,000 and has a proven track record as a thriving rental business.

Do you have an inside secret about your area that people might not know?

The south-west is ideal for those seeking a summer holiday that is just a day’s drive from the UK. If you are thinking of tapping into the rentals market, the weather here is lovely for far longer than the traditional school holiday season, so it pays to think of ways to extend your bookings for more weeks. Accommodation for couples only is one way to go, or you could specialise in families with pre-school kids. In return, the season can extend to 15 or 20 weeks.

What would you recommend as a must see or must do in the area?

Every summer across Aquitaine there is a festival called the Felibrée. It’s an old Occitan fête that started in 1903 and is hosted by a different town each year. The chosen town has its streets garlanded with handmade flowers and there are traditional bands and singers, people in Occitan costume and stalls selling local produce. It’s a colourful spectacle which attracts crowds of people – not to be missed!

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