Lifestyle Properties in France
Why the market has ground to a halt
Toulouse: 15 April 2015:
People ring me every day from every part of France imploring me to help them sell their property. After less than a minute it usually transpires that 1. they are British, 2. they are trying to sell a 'lifestyle property', and 3. they have been trying to sell for over two years.
What's the problem? With the Euro falling against most other currencies one would have thought that lifestyle-changers would be flocking to the sunny south to snap up these des res. And they are. Flocking that is, but they are not buying.
The buyers aren't buying and the vendors aren't selling because there is a mis-match in the market. Vendors bought their lifestyle properties at a time when French property was cheaper than today but they still managed to pay over the odds. The locals saw them coming with their fistfuls of quids and dollars and upped the prices accordingly. Our new owners then brought in teams of fellows in white vans to upgrade their properties to Dulwich standards. Result: lots of money poured into out-of-the-way and not-very-desirable properties.
Vendors now desperately want their money back but buyers - as any buyer in a buyers' market would be - are wary of over-priced property that is likely to continue losing value until the next election/devaluation/economic upturn.
This log-jam is slowly easing however. For a start vendors are tiring of holding out for unobtainable prices. Those grand-children in the UK are sending them tearful e-mails, tugging the heartstrings. And buyers are waking up to the fact that they can - and should - offer what they can afford - even if it is 20 - 25% less than the asking price.
It's called the market in action. Come and be a player!
Gîtes v B&Bs
Toulouse, November 2014
People often ring us with a vague request for a "gite and B&B property". When questioned further it becomes clear that they haven't really understood the fundamental difference between the two formats.
* a 'gite' is a self-catering, self-contained accommodation (house or flat) for two or more people, let out by the week. The owner may or may not live nearby.
* A B&B offers guest rooms in the owner's home, by the night, with breakfast provided. Sometimes a 'table d'hôte' (evening meal) is also on offer.
Running a gite implies intensive work on changeover day (usually Saturday) as one customer leaves and another arrives. During the low season there is maintenance work on the property to be done.
Running a B&B implies much more contact with the customer, changing sheets daily, providing breakfast (and perhaps dinner) daily and generally attending to the needs of the customer and maintenance of the premises.
A gite owner can afford to live 'off-site' and manage the gites at a distance.
The B&B owner must be on-site all the time that guests are present.
Having said all that, there are exceptions to these rules ... and the trend is towards mixing the two formats according to the season. Take one our properties - the two cottages in Larressingle - as an example. Two separate gites which are let out over the 10 high-summer weeks. A man comes in on Saturdays and cleans the gites, changes the sheets, greets the new customers. The owner is sunning herself in Finnland. In September the owner comes back, moves into the smaller gite and lets out the 3 bedrooms in the large gite as B&B rooms ... as she is in a tourist village which attracts people all year round.
Income from the two gites (say €800 pw each) = €16k
Income from B&B (€65 per night per room) = c €1200+ per month
Obviously, for this mixed format to work, you have to be keen on the B&B concept and keen on having strangers sharing your house with you, poking their noses into your cupboards, rifling through your CDs and commenting on your taste in trashy literature. Most B&Bs in France last no more than 18 months due to 'client fatigue'.
Still, it's worth trying the B&B idea if your gites have en-suite bedrooms: it can make the difference between a successful business and one that just survives. B&B's turn over twice as much as gites, per square metre.
Marciac isn’t just about Jazz!
Marciac, July 2014:
This village of 1,200 souls is host to one of France’s best known festivals, the Marciac Jazz festival, which runs during the first two weeks in August, and attracts jazz players from all over the world. During the festival about 120,000 visitors come to the town to take in the concerts, the street musicians, to enjoy the food and the many stalls and art galleries that pop up around the town square.
While the Jazz festival only occupies two weeks of the year, it has profoundly affected this small bastide town. How many other communities of this size do you know that boast several well known restaurants, a new boutique hotel, and a state of the art concert hall that organises events throughout the year?
For those contemplating moving to this part of France, the area offers many advantages. The countryside is gentle and rolling, there are a number of attractive small fortified towns, the weather is clement, and the food excellent. This is the home of foie gras, confit de canard, and all the iterations of duck you can imagine. Local vegetables and foods of all varieties are of an exceptionally high quality, and that includes the good local wines, Saint Mont, Madiran, Jurançon, to mention just a handful. This part of France is known for the long lives of its inhabitants, which is ascribed to the excellence of the quality of nutrition, they could just be right!
While the small towns are peaceful, this is not to say that you cannot enjoy the advantages of larger communities. Within reach of Marciac you have Tarbes, Auch, and Pau, all of which have a high standard of shopping, and the services of first rate hospitals and educational establishments. Le Parvis in Tarbes has a performance centre that offers concerts, cinemas and theatrical productions which come there from all over France.
Also within reach are the Pyrenees; for those who wish to hike, ski, or climb, the mountains are about an hour away, and Spain is also easily accessible.
Gascony - 5 gite complex
Auch - chateau + 5 gites + B&B + lake and river on 13 ha €1.5m
North of Carcassonne
Gite complex and tourist centre - €619k
Luxury Guest House on Canal - €1.133m
Toulouse - Sud
18th century farm, gite, 20 hectares €770k
Château - Canal du Midi
Between Toulouse and Carcassonne - €1.5m
Guest house, gites, paddock - €762k
Lot - Gourdon area
House + 2 gites & 2 pools on 7 ha - €495k
Corbières Gite complex
6 gites plus 3-bed owners house - €770k
Pilgrims' hostel Moissac
Camino hostel 300m from Abbey €328k
Entire 4 story building - Axat - Pyrenees
2 gites, 2 empty floors - rafting & skiing - €149k
Domme Dordogne - gite business
Investment - 3 gites + 3 pools in desirable village €607k
B&B and gite business - Lot Valley
6-bed B&B - 14m pool - 3 gites - big turnover - €595k
What we do
1. GITES FOR SALE is an Estate Agent which sells gite complexes and Bed and Breakfasts in France.
2. GITES FOR SALE advises vendors on how best to organize the sale of their property and accompanies them from start to finish.
3. GITES FOR SALE offers a consultancy service for B&B owners in France who have fallen off the radar.
Where we work
GITES FOR SALE operates throughout South-West France: in Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Rousillon
click on map for up-to-date location for each property
GITES A LA FRANCAISE is an ESTATE AGENT (agence immobilière), registered under French law and subject to the laws and regulations of the EU and France. It has been vetted by the French Ministry of Justice and holds all the necessary insurance.
It should not be confused with 'finders' or 'house-hunting' services which have no legal standing, no professional insurance and no estate agent's licence.
SARL GITES A LA FRANCAISE RCS Toulouse n°: 531 694 925
CARTE IMMOBILIERE HTE GARONNE N° 2197
RESPONSABILITE CIVILE: Assurance : Allianz 41404407
GITES A LA FRANCAISE ne manie pas de fonds. A ce titre, et en conformité de l’article 38 de la loi (n°2010-853) du 23 juillet 2010, elle est disposée de garantie financière
© Gîtes à la française S.A.R.L. 2015