FPN is 250 not out

French Property News celebrates its 250th issue

Can you believe it? French Property News is celebrating its 250th issue this month. And, like a fine French wine, we like to think it’s getting better with age!

The magazine started life in 1989 as an eight-page black-and-white tabloid newspaper, leading with a story on the Eurotunnel. Even then, the nascent authority on French property squeezed a lot of must-know property essentials into its eight pages, including stories on a ch�teau for sale in Loire-Atlantique, financing a property purchase, property-minding companies, insights into the property markets in Picardy and Brittany, a real life story about buying an apartment in Provence, a review of Buying Residential Property in France (a book by the French Chamber of Commerce) and a glossary of useful terms.

It set the template for a publication that may have transformed in appearance over the years to become the glossy, colourful 100-plus-page magazine it is today, but that has always remained the essential read for those looking for, or already living in, a property in France. From that first issue, French Property News eventually switched to colour and assumed its magazine format in 1990. Circulation grew to 60,000 copies a month.

The editor of the first-ever issue was Kerry Schrader, wife of French Property News’ founder Dick Schrader. Looking back over the changing market in 2009, when the magazine celebrated its 20th birthday, Dick said of 1989: "Interest in property in France had grown exponentially; until 1988 Brits had been buying in France at the rate of under 2,000 houses a year, suddenly we were buying more than 10 times as many. Everyone you talked to knew someone who was thinking of buying in France.

"Prices were low and there was a massive supply of attractive properties to renovate. Typical budgets were between �20,000 and �40,000."

Kerry observed that: "In those early days the prices were very tempting with run-down fermettes changing hands for as little as �9,000. Over the years and with the advent of low-cost air travel and improved road and railway systems, the focus for property hunters has spread all over France from north to south and west to east."

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Remarkably, just four editors have overseen French Property News’ 250 issues. Kerry was succeeded by Emma Matavou, then came Penny Kitchen in 1996, followed in 2001 by Karen Tait, who still mans the helm today.

Karen says of the longlasting popularity of French Property News: "One thing that hasn’t changed in 20-odd years of French Property News is people’s enduring love of France. From those who’ve subscribed since the first issue to those who are just discovering the magazine and website now, it’s clear how enthralled they are by our Gallic neighbour – and how keen they are to bag their own slice of la Belle France. From buying a holiday home to moving lock, stock and barrel across the Channel, there’s still a significant demand for French property, even in the current economic climate – or perhaps because of it. We all need a little escapism and who wouldn’t want to escape to their very own French property?"