French Property Blog: Our Voice from France

Leggett Immobilier reaction to the UK budget

Chairman, Trevor Leggett, gave the following comments to the UK budget announced by George Osborne yesterday.

“Two things stood out in the budget yesterday as being of direct relevance to our business.

The first is that the UK housing market is clearly fully back on it’s feet. The “Office for Budget Responsibility” forecast that transaction numbers could rise up to 1.5m by 2018/19 with a 30% growth in prices by April 2019. We know from experience that when UK home owners have confidence in their domestic market they look to purchase their dream home overseas.

Secondly the easing of regulations covering what you can and can’t spend your pension pot on will give people quicker access to their savings with more options open to them. Buying a second home in France will be top of many people’s lists as they look to enjoy their “golden years” – property prices in France are beginning to look like excellent value again.

These are both positive signs and reinforce my opinion that we’re going to see a noticeable increase in sales of French property to UK buyers this year”.

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Want to join Leggett Immobilier in PACA ?

Our award winning team of agents is expanding and we are looking for new recruits in PACA. We offer excellent rates of commission and access to international buyers from all over the world.

You will be given intensive, residential, training and will be supported by our central team of legal, marketing and IT experts.

Did you know that 32% of all international property buyers do so in PACA, paying an average price of €550,000. Our aim is to increase our market share in this region.

Our agents currently have just under 500 properties on offer in the region and we promote them in exhibitions, on our website, through all the major international property portals and in quality journals such as the Financial Times and Country Life International.

Our recruitment day for this region is on the morning of Friday 4th APRIL 2014 and will be held at Ophira 1, Place Joseph Bermond,Valbonne Sophia Antipolis, 06560
Places are limited and by pre-approved application only. If you think you have what it takes to join “The Best Estate Agency in France” then apply here:

Register here

or email


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Aix les Bains – the hidden gem of the Rhone Alpes

A few miles south of Annecy, in the heart of the Savoie sits a hidden gem that is quietly becoming popular with international buyers from all over the world.

Aix les Bains sits on the eastern end of the beautiful Lac du Bourget and hosts some of the most spectacular properties and views in the region. This is a spa town close to Chambery airport and less than an hour from both Lyon and Geneva. Perfect for sports enthusiasts it is brilliantly situated for some of the best ski resorts in the world as well as offering sailing and watersports on the largest natural lake in France.

Property prices are most reasonable when compared with other resorts in Savoie and Haute Savoie and yet this is a town that was a personal favourite of Queen Victoria.

As you can see, our local agent, Thierry Barry has a simply superb portfolio of properties for sale that you can see here and comments:

I call this area “Paradise” because of its natural beauty and great location. I love sports and have access to wonderful ski resorts, cycle routes, sailing activities and hiking in the mountains. My property portfolio stretches from a 3 bed house with mountain views for a little over €250,000 to one of the finest castles in the region for just under €10m – so you can see I have something for everyone.

Next time you come across to the Alps why not check out the town for yourself – with confidence returning to the European markets this is the perfect time to buy and if you can drag me off the slopes I’d be happy to show you why“!

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The French property market – how will it look in 2014?


We asked our Chairman, Trevor Leggett, to polish off his crystal ball and give us his forecast for the French property market over the coming 12 months.

Before putting my neck on the block and making some forecasts for 2014 it’s important that we understand where the market is today in terms of international buyers.

Ever since Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 the European property market has been in the doldrums and last year was no different. BNP Paribas tell us that in 2012 just 10,663 non residents bought a property in France (itself a drop of 29% on 2011). Not surprisingly these buyers concentrated on the prime regions of France with PACA accounting for 33% of sales, Rhone Alpes 15% and Paris 12%. What was interesting though was that these buyers obviously thought that the market was at or near the bottom as their average spend increased by 5% to hit €384,000. We think that these are quite astute buyers who see an opportunity as confidence grows and that 2014 will see other “canny” investors entering the market.

It should also be noted that prices in these prime areas have not dropped as much as in the regions – for example the Notaires de France tell us that prices in the Alpes Maritimes dropped by just 1% in 2012. Quite clearly, “location, location, location” is just as important to international buyers.

So, what do we predict for 2014. Well firstly I would say that much depends upon vendors and agents pricing sensibly so that international demand actually converts into sales. We are cautiously optimistic and think that we will probably be seeing sales to “non residents” back up towards the 15,000 mark in 2014. These will probably be driven by an increased demand in PACA and the Rhone Alpes but should also spread out into the regions. We are seeing a steady demand in regions such as Languedoc Roussillon and Poitou Charentes and sales to international buyers in both areas should grow next year.

In terms of price we don’t foresee much movement either way – we certainly won’t be seeing the kind of explosive growth witnessed in London and the south east of England. The French property market is actually made up of hundreds of “micro markets” and some will see single digit falls while others see small price rises, nothing much for the headline writers to get their teeth into though“!

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Chinese investors looking for some good red and a little drop of Cognac


Leggett Immobilier has quietly become one of the leading names in the sale of French vineyards and is forecasting a strong international demand for 2014.

Heading the Bordeaux wine team is Leggett expert Chantal Nollet, based in their Saint-Emilion office, 45 minutes east of Bordeaux. She comments:

“Since 2013 Leggetts have been seeing a buoyant and dynamic vineyard market with considerable interest shown in Bordeaux, Cognac, Provence and Languedoc Roussillon regions. Vineyard prices are still attractive, with land in lesser known appellations around Bordeaux available for as little as 5,000 Euros per hectare, but in regions, such as Cognac, we are seeing property prices increase significantly”.

So what about Chinese interest? Chantal says:

“Demand is high and we have Chinese clients ready to purchase properties up to 50 million Euros. This Chinese investment in French vineyards was supported recently by statistics from SAFER (the French Land Agency), who said that during 2012, a total of 712 vineyards in the Gironde were sold, which equated to almost 3,500 hectares of vines, for a sum of €533 million euros. Chinese buyers were responsible for purchasing 27 of these properties, representing 15% of total sales and involving an estimated 525 hectares of vines. However, serious French investors remains focused on buying well-established vineyards in the more prestigious appellations”.

Currently, Leggetts are offering an a 20 hectare Château vineyard (60 hectares total) set in a beautiful location bordering Saint-Emilion; this superbly maintained estate producing award-winning wines, has a price tag of 6.36 million Euros.

According to Chantal, “the climate and lifestyle in Provence also attracts regular enquiries for vineyards in that region – we have for sale one of the largest and most beautiful wine estates in the Luberon; the property offers 73 hectares of vines, over 8 grape varieties and two registered appellations in full production. Together with its 8 bedroom Maison de Maître offering 1500m2 of accommodation, this would certainly be an opportunity to live the dream”!

For something on a smaller scale, the Right Bank of the Gironde Estuary produces extremely good wines and this beautiful estate is no exception: 8.7 hectares of vines (10 hectares land total) AOC Còtes-de-Bourg, with a traditional Girondine house, is new to the market this week at 1.028.000, Euros.

Chantal sums up by saying:

“Leggetts have always enjoyed an established reputation amongst international buyers for giving an unrivalled quality of service, but it’s their professionalism and attentiveness towards vendors too, that ensures they are recommended by word of mouth amongst the vines, keeping a constant supply of beautiful and commercially important vineyards coming to the market. Is it really any wonder they were awarded Best Estate Agency in France last year”?

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