News: French mountains full of bargains

Tue, 11 Sep 07

Those looking to invest in property in France may have to be pretty savvy about it, experts have warned...

In such a popular market, especially for British buyers, there are bound to be regional variations in price, making it important for those hunting bargains to do their research before looking to make a purchase.

Yet the bargains are still there. Liz Oliver of property specialists Francophiles told the Guardian at the weekend that "France is still very good value," adding that "if you are prepared to go inland a little bit, prices drop significantly".

Investors may indeed choose to head inland, away from the Cote D'Azur with its sunshine or the Brittany coast with its proximity to Britain, but to where? One option is to head to areas famous for their wineries, but another is to go to the mountains.

The Guardian article lists the Pyrenees as an area to find bargains, along with Champagne-Ardennes, Poitou-Charente, and Limousin.

Alpine tourism ‘growing’

The Pyrenees, of course, has many attractions. It enjoys proximity to Spain, ski resorts, fine walking country and the town of Lourdes for those interested in a spiritual pilgrimage. But of course France also has part of the Alps, where again there are good deals to be had for those prepared to look in the right places.

Simon Malster, managing director of Investors in Property stated that the market for Alpine tourism is growing, which in itself should be of interest to buy-to-let investors. While some have questioned the future of skiing in the light of the mild winters that global warming appears to be increasingly causing, Mr Malster suggested that the area is, paradoxically, enjoying the benefits of climate change.

He said: "With global warming we've had some very hot temperatures in Greece and other parts of Europe this summer and I think that there is definitely a growing market for Alpine holidays generally."

The key thing, he noted, was that the Alps were adjusting to change by becoming more attuned to summer holidays, providing outdoor activities such as mountain biking and attractions such as spa hotels.

In addition to this, he noted, those who can afford to have two summer holidays enjoyed the variation between the mountains of central Europe and the Mediterranean beaches, noting: "They'll go and have two weeks on the beach and then have a long weekend or a week in the mountains."

Outlying areas the ‘best bet’

But of course the Alps itself has plenty of areas that are filled with development and tourism, with highly commercialized resorts becoming expensive. Instead, he suggested, the popular places to invest now were locations like Grenobe and "some of the more outlying areas".

There is certainly a market here, he explained, for buy-to-let property, partly because there was a requirement in many places that any new build was made available on a "sale and leaseback type basis."

Thus, in the Alps as elsewhere in France, the key is to find the areas a little bit off the beaten track, for there investors will still find bargains.

Source: http://www.assetz.co.uk (Press release)


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