Monday, November 26, 2012
The former is relatively easy but the latter is simply a case of wetting your finger and sticking it in the wind....who knows what will happen to the European economy, the euro itself or the effects of the changes and austerity measures being introduced by our new President.
Let's start with 2012.
On a macro level it looks as though the overall number of French property sales will be around 650,000 which is quite a drop on the 790,000 we saw in 2011. The market definitely slowed in 2012 and despite the many front page headlines talking about soaring prices in Paris and on the Cote d'Azur I'm dubious that any region is currently showing price growth.
Latest research from the Notaires de France says that some areas buck the trend and they quote Limoges as seeing a 7% rise, Toulouse an increase of 4.5% and Lille rises of 2.9%.....don't forget though that these figures are already well out of date and I'd take them with a healthy pinch of salt.
Closer to home I'm certainly seeing plenty of local agents dropping prices from what were pretty optimistic levels. I'm not saying that prices are in freefall or anything dramatic like that but it seems to me that a) only properties in the best locations are selling and b) they have to be priced realistically to do so.
Forecasting anything for 2013 is pretty much a lottery and my family & friends all know that my ability at tipping stocks, shares or the winner of the X Factor is dire.
However, I'd be surprised if transaction numbers for 2013 weren't between the 600-650,000 range, ie showing another slight decrease and another tough year for those of us who earn our money in this arena.
I'm not going to forecast anything to do with prices as the conflicting figures we are presented by the notaires, FNAIM, INSEE and others are meaningless.
What I will say though is that I don't think we'll see many areas being touted as having rises or falls of more than a few percent. I sense a pretty flat market which, given what is going on in the rest of the world, may not be a bad thing.
As I have said before, international buyers come to France for a mixture of reasons - around 40,000 of them bought in France last year and I'd predict that this number won't change much either way this year. The sunshine, great food, world class wine and welcoming culture are happily pretty much recession proof!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
One of the great things about living just outside Cognac is the access to live music.
Many of the bars & restaurants have live acts at the week-end and, of course, there's the famous Blues Festival each summer - this year Tom Jones & Sting were the headline acts.
Sometimes you have to go further afield though and having seen Bruno Mars in Nantes we found ourselves in Paris last week-end.
More specifically we were at a terrific venue called Le Trianon in Montmartre. It's a sumptuous theatre and, best of all, it holds just 1,500 people.
The queues for Ed Sheeran began first thing in the morning and the doors didn't open until 7.30pm. We got there an hour early and joined the back of a snaking line.
The theatre was spectacular and intimate - the warm up act "Passenger" set the crowd alight and couldn't stop commenting on how good it was to be so close to the audience.
This theme continued when Ed Sheeran took to the stage. He was in a good mood as the song "Little things" which he had written when he was just 17 and recently given to One Direction had gone to number one in the UK that day. He was proud that it was his first number one and said that he was never going to sing it again as it now belonged to another act.
However.....he asked if he could sing it one last time. Better than that, he liked the intimate atmosphere so much he wanted to strip it back and use just his guitar and his voice....no microphones.
He asked the crowd for absolute silence and the next few minutes made the hairs stand up on the arms of all 1,500 people who were there to witness it. Spellbinding.
You can get a taster from the video above (not mine, pinched from You Tube) but I guess you really had to be there.
Who knows, maybe he'll headline the 2013 Cognac Blues Passions.....