La Rentrée for the property market

The foothills in September

As it is ‘La Rentrée’ (back to school time) and traditionally a very busy period for house hunters, I thought it might be a good moment to take a look at the property market here so far this year. For me personally, the year got off to a slower start than usual but then took off in February culminating in my busiest two months ever in July and August. Talking to the agents here confirms a similar picture and certainly July was very busy for everyone across the board although August quieter for many agents as is usually the case.

So far this year house prices and property transactions initially stabilised and they now appear to be on the increase in the Midi-Pyrénées region. This could be down to French mortgage rates which are at an all time low or because, thanks to the financial crisis, there are some stunning houses on the market right now, many for sale at less than their true market value and hence investors are moving in. If you have been waiting for the best time to buy a property in France, I would suggest that this might be it. Belts are being tightened here as everywhere but quality of life remains high. What’s more, the Midi-Pyrénées region has an unusually high stock of beautiful and solidly built stone houses in lovely locations and this, combined with record low mortgage rates (the lowest for 65 years and the best in Europe), means that it is a buyer’s market here right now.

Hence it is no surprise that I am getting lots of interest from investors looking to lock in some long-term capital in consistently high value and stable French bricks and mortar. However, I would still suggest that your reasons for moving to this region should not just be financial; when you choose this region, you are buying a way and quality of life, not just a property investment and a ‘good buy’ means more than just getting a bargain.

How the rest of the year will pan out is yet to be seen but, by the number of enquiries I am getting, it certainly looks as if the Ariège, Haute Garonne and Southern Gers are the places to be right now.


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