Thursday, 21 March 2013

Southern Dordogne Property Market Update

©Jacqueline Hanks A little over 70 years ago on the 8th September 1940, young Marcel Ravidat was walking his dog accompanied by three friends. His dog Robot briefly disappeared into a 20-cm hole under an uprooted tree and came back out moments later. Intrigued, the four lads decided to come back armed with a shovel to explore the cavity ... and discovered the grotte de Lascaux! Without Robot the dog, the magnificent 17,000 year old paintings and carvings depicting animals displayed on the wall of this cave would be unknown to this day. What an amazing discovery! I would have loved to be the first one to see it.

I have an interest in archaeology and sometimes think that there are common elements with my work as property finder. Both require patience and a desire to literally leave no stone unturned until you discover what you are looking for. At times during my property searches, I have had that eureka moment. While looking for the impossible, you suddenly find “the one”; that little gem that you know your clients will love. One example of this happened quite recently.

My clients Will and Val had a small budget, but a big list of requirements. They needed a fairly large house with a pool and many other criteria. They wanted an easily maintained garden and to be situated near a village with a bakery and a restaurant and wanted to be fairly close to a large town and Bergerac airport and of course the property had to be pretty and with no work required. As you can imagine these kinds of requirements can considerably increase the cost of a property, especially in a sought after area like mine.

A search can take between four to six weeks, sometimes more if the criteria are particularly challenging. After nearly six weeks on this search, I had a good handful of possible candidates but one particularly that I felt would be a good match. About a week before Will and Val were due to arrive from Hong Kong to visit the properties I was notified by the estate agent that the property was under offer from another buyer! My heart sank. I knew that although the other properties were fairly good they probably would not appeal as much. It was time to start looking all over again to see whether I could turn up something that would wow my clients. I spent a couple of days straight on the internet and called out my contacts all over the area to see whether they had taken on new properties which may be of interest. One evening I was going through private listings when I saw "it" and I immediately knew that my clients would buy it. It was perfect in every way but one; the price was 25K over budget. I contacted the owner to visit the property to make sure that the details published on the internet were correct and that the property ticked all the boxes. After a long conversation with the French owners who were looking to move quickly, I knew that we could negotiate the price down to a figure my clients could afford. The rest is history, my clients fell in love with the little brook and bridge in front of the property as well as the gorgeous 17th century Perigourdine house and bought it. So, a bit like an archaeologist, I had unearthed a treasure.

The mood of the property market in the Dordogne

The property market in Dordogne which, was boosted in 2007 had started to slow down since 2010 but this turned into a drop of 3.6% in the period between 2011 and 2012 on older properties. According to the FNAIM’s latest report (14th January 2013) there is a significant drop in the price of properties in the West of France especially in respect of obsolete properties, a label given to those houses built in the 70s and 80s and those which have inadequate heating systems or those which are badly served by transport or shops. At the beginning of the year the median price for an apartment in Dordogne was 1537€/m2 and 1292€/m2 for houses. However, the good news is that even though the market is a little slow, the Dordogne style of property (stones and beams) is still highly sought after by foreign buyers.

Three main reasons why this a good time to buy in the Dordogne?

Lower pricesBecause the number of transaction has fallen by 18.6% in France between 2011 and 2012 (according to the FNAIM) property prices too have fallen.

Plenty of choice propertiesDue to the poor exchange rate, quite a few expats have had to put their properties on the market and there are plenty of great properties to choose from.

Low mortgage ratesPresent mortgage rates are at an historical low.

For more information have a look at you can also contact me at or call me on + 33 (0)553730645

No comments:

Post a Comment