French Property Blog: Our Voice from France

Installation of smoke detectors by 8th March 2015

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The point is to detect smoke right at the start of a house fire and immediately emit a sound signal which is loud enough to wake up someone who is asleep.

The smoke detector should carry the CE mark and conform to the European standard n° NF EN 14604. It should be solidly fixed high up, away from the walls and sources of steam, preferably in a corridor serving the bedrooms. It is recommended that you install more than one smoke detector in large dwellings or those which are on more than one floor. Smoke detectors adapted for deaf people are available and work with a light signal or vibration.

In theory… Property owners must install a detector before 8th March 2015.
The installation is the responsability of the owner whether he lives in the property or rents it out. For a new rental the smoke detector must be in place when the tenant takes over the property and maintenance can be done as required for a seasonal rental, a hostel, a hôtel, social housing, accommodation at a place of work or for a furnished rental. In other cases it is the tenant who is responsible for maintenance (changing batteries etc) and the landlord can ask the tenant to install the smoke detector – provided he pays for it or reimburses the tenant for its cost.
Proof of installation should be provided to the company which insures the property.

In practice…
At the moment there is no legal sanction for not installing a smoke detector. Insurance companies cannot use the absence of a smoke detector to get round their obligation to indemnify damage caused by a fire in the dwellings they insure.

Specific measures for shared areas.
In buildings whose building permit (or extension of a permit) was applied for before 5th March 1987, and where the floor of the highest dwelling is no more than 50 metres above ground level, there should be fire doors separating the area where dustbins are kept (if they do not open to the outside or onto corridors) and the staircases between the basement and the rest of the building. A floor plan of the basement and the ground floor, and instructions for what to do in the case of a fire, should be on display in entrance foyers and close to stairwells and lifts.

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French Alps – apartment prices on the up but house prices still falling

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Leading French estate agent Leggett Immobilier has launched a quarterly Alpine property index. Results show that in 2014 apartments rose in price by an average of 1.3% while chalets fell by 1.0% and houses by 3.4%.

You can download a copy of the report here.

The property index is based on over 100 quarterly valuations of a fixed sample of Alpine properties (chalets, apartments, village and resort houses). It provides a unique insight into price trends across the Alps as a whole and also within four key areas:

  • Haut Alpes
  • Massif d’Aravis
  • Portes du Soleil
  • Three Valleys

The report highlights that this is a series of local markets. For instance, in the final quarter of 2014 prices in Portes du Soleil fell by 1.2% whilst in the Three Valleys prices continued a strong run and grew by 1.8%. Leggett also look at the effect that currency movements have on demand. For instance the price of French property has fallen by 8.2% for investors from the USA during 2014 and by 4.4% for UK buyers. However, prices are up particularly for Russians spending roubles with prices up by 44.7%.

Heather Byrne, area controller for the 23 strong sales team in the Alps comments:

“Our quarterly Leggett Alpine Property Index clearly shows that international buyers view the property market here as having had the equivalent of a sprinkling of fresh powder in 2014. Lower prices and attractive interest rates are the two main drivers but we are also noticing a trend for year round demand in the Alps with walkers, and particularly cyclists, flocking to the mountains. The market is coming back with British buyers laying down the first tracks. As a company we saw sales increase by 49% last year proving that buyers are increasingly seeking a mixture of local knowledge and a balanced portfolio of property to choose from.”

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Leggett Immobilier raises 12,816 euros for charity

We are delighted to announce that thanks to many generous donations we have raised €12,816 on behalf of L’association Petits Princes.

This is a tremendous charity who make dreams come true for terminally ill children. They have already confirmed that this money will pay for a young girl to meet her favourite celebrity choreographer and a young boy to help in the pits of a motor race with many more projects in hand.

We wish to sincerely thank all of the people who donated prizes and everyone at our annual party who dug deep for this fabulous cause.

petits princes

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Signs of optimism for French market in 2015

Last year saw a 43% increase in French properties sold by Leggett Immobilier with buyers of 33 different nationalities which demonstrates the global appeal of the property market in France,

Trevor Leggett, Chairman of Leggett Immobilier comments:

“2014 was the year that British buyers came back to the French market with a bang – and our sales pipeline shows that 2015 will see more of the same. We have seen a 43% increase in transaction numbers over the last 12 months fuelled mainly by confidence levels in the UK and continued low interest rates.

We have been making sales throughout France and “Middle England” is buying again – in 2013 the average purchase price for a British buyer was €269,000, we think that in 2014 this will have risen to around €300,000 and that in 2015 it will rise further still.

We have seen a lot of activity in the Alps and Cote d’Azur which also helps push this figure up. These middle class buyers tend to want properties that are finished to a reasonably high standard and that are in good locations – we’re still selling plenty of renovation projects but there is a definite trend towards “just furnish to your own taste” properties.

The UK election in May hasn’t yet had any effect on enquiry levels (traditionally buyers of second homes tend to be cautious in the run up to an election). We currently have over twice as many ongoing sales, between exchange and completion, as we did at the start of the year – the bulk of these to buyers from across the channel. With around 12,000 properties for sale on our books there is certainly plenty of choice.”

trevor and joanna (1)

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First ever French property auction in the UK to be launched at ‘The France Show’

The first ever auction of French property to be held in the UK, will take place at The France Show on 24th January, with a number of properties from the Leggett Immobilier portfolio taking centre stage.

As an innovative estate agency, Leggett Immobilier is always exploring new and different ways to approach buying and selling property in France.

The auction, which is run by French Property Auction, will bring French property to the British auction room – something which has never been done before. Lots range from building plots to substantial country homes; town houses to carp lakes and many of those listed come from the Leggett Immobilier portfolio.

Head of Marketing, Joanna Leggett says; “We are always working to expand the options available to both purchasers and vendors of French property and are pleased to be involved in the first ever French property auction in the UK. As always, we will be running our popular seminars at The France Show in January 2015 and wish French Property Auction every success with this innovative new venture.”

Around 50 properties from the Leggett Immobilier portfolio will be part of the auction, a taster of a few of them are shown below.

If you would like to receive a copy of the auction brochure in advance of the show, please click here.

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