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These News & Views are scooped from around the world; What’s happening? What are people thinking? What would people like them to think?…and some of the amusing things that are going on today.

Click on the picture and you’ll be taken to the Mon Oc portfolio of 400+ articles.  Choose your article and you’ll be taken there, just one click away.  Read today’s scoops here and understand what’s happening.

Across France: Viva l’Opéra 2014/ 2015 Season Now Live in Cinemas Near You

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Mozart’s Magic Flute from the Bregenz Festival in Austria will be the opera highlight of the Christmas Holidays, screening on 4th and 11th December 2014 as part of the UGC cinema chain’s Viva l’Opéra 2014-2015 broadcast season around France.

In an echo of the hugely successful live broadcasts from the New York Met matinees that are screened in cinemas across France and the rest of the world, the Paris Opera and the UCG chain joined forces five years ago to bring audiences here a similar experience. They have based their programme on live performances from French and other major European opera houses in a season that opened in September and runs through to 9th July 2015.

**Read more about the Met broadcasts in France here**

Read more on the Viva l’Opéra facebook page
This initiative complements that of the Gaumont-Pathé group, which since April 2008, has transmitted live broadcasts of Saturday matinee performances at the Metropolitan Opera of New York.
Here is the programme for all cinemas transmitting the broadcast in France. Should you miss out there is always the Met player – a subscription-based listen and watch again facility online.

Discussing the Viva l’opéra programme for its fifth season Alain Duault of France 3, Radio Classique, Opera online and the programme’s artistic director wrote: “In four years, Viva l’opéra  has become a brand attracting an increasingly diverse audience and leading many to discover opera for the first time. For its fifth season, Viva l’opéra brings viewers and opera lovers an appointment with beautiful opera from an international festival providing a taste of the best and offering cinemagoers a front row at the Salzburg Festival, Bregenz  Festival Aix-en-Provence Festival or the Paris, Vienna, Munich, Zurich, San Francisco and Parma Opera houses”.

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Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio will be screened 12 – 19 Feb at UGC cinemas around France

Here is a clip of the overture from “Die Entführung aus dem Serail, ‘The Abduction from the hareem’ K384: Overture” a recording by Otto Klemperer/New Philharmonia Orchestra:

The full programme of live performances broadcast in UCG cinemas around France and abroad can be found here

The 2014-2015 Season

PCRC publishes report into voter engagement, Friday, 14 November

Political and Constitutional Reform Committee (House of Commons)

Substantial reforms needed to re-engage the public with politics and elections in the UK

MPs call for political parties to include proposals in their manifestos—such as compulsory voting, online voting and votes for 16-17 year olds —ahead of the 2015 election

Today, Friday 14 November 2014, the Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee launches a report and a public consultation on reforms to voting arrangements to re-engage British people with politics and elections.

Launching the report, Graham Allen MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“Our democracy is facing a crisis if we do not take urgent action to make elections more accessible to the public and convince them that it is worth voting.

“Turnout for the last general election was only 65%—almost 16 million voters chose not to participate—and millions of people are not even registered to vote. This is not an acceptable state of affairs for a modern democracy.

“The fact that almost 85% of people turned out for the recent referendum on Scottish independence shows that people will turn out if they care about an issue and believe they can make a difference. This lesson needs to be learnt and applied to all other elections.

“Our report on voter engagement considers some radical changes, like compulsory voting, online voting, and extending the franchise to younger people, because we believe a serious problem needs serious answers. We hope our report shows that Parliament is waking up to this issue by calling for radical change.

“We are asking the public to seriously consider the proposals we put forward in our report and give us their views on what would work – what would engage you? What would make it easier for you to get out and vote? And care about voting? – so we can put forward the best recommendations in a final report ahead of the 2015 general election.”

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The proposals the Committee is inviting views on include:

• Making voting compulsory in some elections, with an option to “abstain” or vote for “none of the above”

• Extending the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds

• Modernising electoral administration by considering options such as automatic registration, letting people register on the day of an election, online voting and many more

• Reforming party structures to better engage with the public • Looking at how the media and politics can interact for the greater good of a healthy democracy

• Taking forward decentralisation and devolution so the electorate can engage much more in deciding their own affairs

• Doing more to increase registration for those people under represented on the electoral registers—including young people, British citizens living overseas, commonwealth and EU citizens and members of some Black and Minority Ethnic groups

The Committee plans to produce a final report on voter engagement in the New Year, informed by the responses it receives on the conclusions and recommendations set out in this report.

Contribute to the discussion

The Committee welcomes written submissions on any or all of the conclusions and recommendations set out in its report on pages 82 to 94. The Committee would particularly welcome submissions from organisations that have sought the views of their members.

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 9 January 2014. Submissions can be as short as you wish but it would be helpful if they did not significantly exceed 3,000 words unless this has been cleared in advance with the Committee secretariat. Written responses to the Committee will usually be treated as evidence to the Committee and may be published. If you object to your response being made public, please make this clear when it is submitted

Written evidence on the Proposals on voter engagement should be submitted online:

• Submit evidence on the Proposals on voter engagement (this link will go live at 00.01am on Friday 14 November)

If you are considering making a submission please read the following guidelines:

•    Guidance on submitting written evidence If you intend to make a submission and require further time, please

contact us at pcrc@parliament.uk.

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Press requests: Jessica Bridges-Palmer, Committee Media Officer,

Email: bridgespalmerj@parliament.uk  

Mobile: 07917 488489

All other requests: Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, Tel:

020 7219 0737 Email: pcrc@parliament.uk

Committee Membership is as follows: Mr Graham Allen (Chair) (Nottingham North), Mr Jeremy Browne (Taunton Deane), Mr Christopher Chope (Christchurch), Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford), Mark Durkan (Foyle), Paul Flynn (Newport West), Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East), David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale), Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst), Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd), Mr Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight)

Follow the Committee on Twitter: @CommonsPolCon

Specific Committee Information: pcrc@parliament.uk 020 7219 6287

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/pcrc Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk

SIPPS – Non UK commercial Property – Capital Adequacy rules

by David Anderson Solicitor Advocate, Chartered Tax Adviser and barrister (unregistered) and Charlotte O’Leary trainee solicitor both at Sykes Anderson Perry Limited Solicitors and Chartered Tax Advisers in London, England

What is a SIPP?

A SIPP is a personal pension plan which enables you to choose from the full range of investments approved by the government. They can invest in (inter alia) shares and commercial property in the UK and abroad. They have good tax advantages and usually appeal to higher paid individuals. About £100 billion is currently administered through SIPPs.

Who runs them?

SIPP operators, who are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), control the assets and ultimately decide whether an asset is acceptable to be held within the SIPP. SIPP operators include major international banks to small specialist operators.

What is the FCA’s current concern?

From time to time SIPP operators leave the market either by selling their businesses or closing down. In the latter case there is a risk people’s pension savings could be put at risk if the closure is as a result of the SIPP operator failing. The FCA wants SIPP operators to have sufficient capital to fund an orderly closure without money having to come from people’s pensions to fund the closure and transfer of their assets to a new SIPP provider

So this means SIPP providers will have to have more capital in reserve

Yes they will have to have more of their own money at risk in their businesses. Understandably his is not popular with many SIPP operators. The new capital requirements will apply from 1 September 2016. It will see smaller SIPP operators being forced to merge or leave the market which will increase costs to consumers and reduce choice. It will mean larger more inflexible SIPP providers will dominate the industry which is not in the consumers interests.

Surely most assets can be sold or transferred easily to a new SIPP operator so why the problem?

Yes most assets such as cash balances and quoted shares can easily be transferred and if a SIPP provider fails other providers will be pleased to have these assets transferred to them and receive the fees for holding the assets in their SIPP. However some assets which are in niche or specialist areas may not be acceptable to many SIPP operators or may take some time to transfer.

Which assets does the FCA not see as “standard” i.e. non-problematic assets?

The list includes cash, corporate bonds, physical gold bullion, National Savings and Investment products, listed UK and foreign shares and UK commercial property. In the case of UK commercial property it is only standard if it can be transferred in not more than 30 days. If there will be any difficulty in transferring UK property within 30 days it is deemed to be non-standard and the SIPP operator has to identify it as such and it will increase the SIPP operator’s capital requirement.

What does the FCA see as non-standard “problem assets”?

One asset is non UK commercial property which is automatically non-standard. This means any SIPP provider which accepts non UK commercial property will be penalised by having to be higher capitalized for doing so. Most SIPP operators will be disinclined to accept such property. There is no distinction made between EU and non EU commercial property.

Doesn’t this breach EU rules?

You would think it prevents the free movement of capital within the EU and is a blatant infringement of the EU treaty. An individual who wants to invest in commercial property in an EU member state will firstly find fewer SIPP operators prepared to do so and secondly will face higher charges to fund the higher capital requirements. It will also make it harder for smaller newer SIPP operators to enter the market. This is a retrograde step for the SIPP industry because it significantly reduces investor choice. A judicial review of the proposed changes has been started.

What other options are there?

If you will be over 55 on 6th April 2015 the changes to the pension rules will allow you to take all your pension money out of your SIPP, subject to UK tax charge. However if you are planning to retire abroad there may be no UK tax charge anyway if you become non UK resident and you may decide simply to take your money out of your SIPP and invest in any asset which would include residential buy to let in the UK or abroad or in a foreign commercial property. You need to check the tax position in the country of residence to make sure the SIPP money you receive when you close your SIPP will not be taxed say as income there. Generally it should be viewed as capital and will usually not be taxed or taxed lightly.

November 2014

 

148_Sykes_Anderson_Property_Oct14Sykes Anderson Perry Limited, 9 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YF    Telephone 020 3178 3770    www.saplaw.co.uk

This information has been prepared by Sykes Anderson Perry Limited as a general guide only and does not constitute advice on any specific matter. We strongly recommend that you seek professional advice before taking action. No liability can be accepted by us for any action taken or not taken as a result of any information or advice given or omitted. The information herein does not constitute investment advice. Always consult an IFA if before taking any investment decision.

 

 

 

R is for Renovation

With less money knocking around in general, buyers might have to lower their expectations and consider less finished properties.

I’m talking slightly tired houses with avocado bathroom suites and 70s wallpaper rather than a pile of stones without a roof.

PROPERTY_175_France_SOS_Dec14Buying a project which is habitable but needs modernising is a great way to get more for your money. You can use it immediately, while working on it bit by bit as and when extra cash becomes available.

That way, you can fulfil your dream of owning a French property now and benefit from the great deals it is possible to negotiate in the present market, safe in the knowledge that your investment will, over the long term, be a source of great pleasure while growing in value.

In spite of what has happened to the housing market in the UK, and to a lesser degree, France, in the last year, I still believe that in the long term, property is one of the safest investments you can make.

I like to think that the four and a half years of living in an ongoing renovation as well as professional experience of overseeing projects for our clients has given us some insight into the renovation process.

So I give you some dos and don’ts based on those, sometimes painful, but ultimately rewarding, experiences.

1. Don’t pay everything up front

Horror stories abound about trusting homeowners who have handed over colossal amounts of money to builders who have subsequently disappeared into the sunset having bodged a job or, worse, not even started it. I’ve picked up the pieces in some cases. Don’t leave your brain behind in the UK when you employ workmen in France. The norm is to pay 30% up front BUT…

2. …Make sure the builder is registered

ALWAYS make sure that the builder you are handing your hard-earned cash to is registered. This is easily done by asking for his SIREN number (if he gets funny about this, warning bells should be ringing).

You can check if he is operating legitimately by going to www.infogreffe.fr and typing in the SIREN number or the company name, and you can also search for companies that have deregistered – if this is the case, find someone else. For those limited French speakers amongst you, in a surprising example of French bureaucratic efficiency, you can do all this in English!

3. Take as much time as you need

We have spent four and a half years renovating our apartment, which is part of a 17th century former convent. While we have had to put up with old wallpaper and exposed pipework for rather longer than I would have wanted (looking back I can’t believe some of the horrors we have lived with for such a long time!), one advantage has been that we have been able to experience living in the house and adapt our renovation to our needs.

If we had been in a position to do everything as soon as we bought it before moving in, we would have ended up with a very different home which was less suited to our requirements as a growing family.

4. Use local artisans

I often hear people moaning about French builders and how dodgy they are. The fact is that France is no different to the UK– there are good and bad builders/plumbers/electricians/painters in both countries.

I would advise using local, established and experienced builders, whether French or otherwise, to ensure that your  builder has a good knowledge of local building methods and requirements. In particular, the regulations relating to electrical wiring in France are very different from in the UK so, above all, I think it’s important to use a French-qualified electrician to make sure that your property meets all the required norms.

5. Consider a project manager

If your French is not up to it, consider hiring a bilingual project manager on the ground in France. While this may seem an expensive luxury, in reality it will mean the job gets done more quickly. It could also save you money as a project manager will have a better knowledge of local prices and is less likely to be ripped off.

Don’t underestimate how difficult it is to manage a project from afar. Quite apart from needing someone to ensure that workman turn up, there are countless small decisions to be made during the course of a renovation project which you can’t imagine at the beginning. As an example I give you one of the little issues we’ve just come up against in a renovation we are managing: the positioning of doorknobs on kitchen drawer units.  You would think that it would be unnecessary to specify this to an experienced kitchen fitter but no, he’s managed to fit them half hanging off!

6. Be realistic

It has always been more difficult to “do a Sarah Beeny” in France than in the UK because of the high costs involved in buying a property. I would advise any amateur looking to make a fast buck in this way to think again. As I said before, over the long term, property in France is a dependable investment but for short term gains, it’s a very tricky market.

This article is not meant to put you off – use your head, keep your expectations realistic and you could experience the satisfaction of turning an ugly duckling of a property into a beautiful swan.

by Louise Sayers  France SOS

 

This series of articles first appeared in French Property News magazine. Please note that some of the information contained in them may be out of date.

 

Christmas gifts for under £20

SIGG HOT & COLD

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 18.39.04These stylishly designed thermo bottles with the classic look and feel of SIGG’s renowned drinking bottles, will keep a beverage hot at 60c for up to 6hours or refreshingly cold. .Designed for performance, the sleek, contemporary Hot & Cold range aredouble-walled vacuum insulated flasks manufactured from high-quality, food safe 18/8 stainless steel. From £19.99. Available in 2 sizes – 0.3L and 0.5L, perfect for tea lovers and coffee drinkers everywhere.

SIGG VIVA

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 18.39.20Excellent material properties, vibrant colours and impressive durability – SIGG VIVA has it all. Its tried and tested drinking system, combined with the high requirements of quality and materials, has resulted in a collection of innovative and reusable water bottles. Every bottle is made from high-quality transparent polypropylene, free of harmful substances to give you complete piece of mind. With a rainbow of colourways available, you can stay refreshed in style. £15.49

 SIGG WINTER ‘SNOWMAN’

Justine.griffiths@sigg.com_1415031038_0_3L_8456_80_Little_SnowmanA perfect SIGG Christmas with these cute classic SIGG bottles, an ideal gift or stocking filler for youngsters, offering parents peace of mind in the knowledge that SIGG bottles are BPA and phthalate free. As always when it comes to hydration, only the best options will do for parents. The Winter ‘Snowman’ series features two classic SIGG bottles with easy to use sip tops, a 0.3Litre bottle, perfect for toddlers 18months +, and a slightly larger 0.4Litre bottle for kids 4years +.  Each bottle is made from high quality aluminium, reusable, 100% recyclable, easy to clean and spill proof. Free from BPA and phthalates.From £15.99

YOUR FAVOURITE CAT IN CUTE COSTUME AND BOTTLED!

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 18.39.51Many a little girl dreams of Hello Kitty but with SIGG’s trendy, urban and utterly cool collection, this little kitty could become the object of desire for big girls too. SIGG brings Hello Kitty in four sweet costumes to the bottle. Dressed up as a zebra, lion, giraffe or cheetah the cute cat adorns the 0.4litre bottles. More than meow: Thanks to the speech balloons on the reverse side of the SIGG bottle, children can make their Hello Kitty personal. Writing her or his own name in the speech bubble can easily identify your child’s bottle. The bottle comes in a purpose gift box and a writing pen that will work on the bottle. Every bottle is made from high quality, lightweight aluminium, is 100% recyclable and easy to clean. Leak proof and break proof. £19.99

ON THE GO CUTLERY SET 

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 18.40.00If your other half is a lover of the great outdoors then this little gadget is a perfect gift.  Three pieces in one Cutlery Set, Knife, fork and spoon that can be taken apart or kept together and folded neatly and safely away into a travel pouch. Neat, compact and worth its weight in gold. £15.49

Stockist: www.sigg.com

Never ever lose your luggage again . . .

ReboundTAG (www.reboundtag.com), a high-tech luggage tag  will go global on the consumer market this year.  

ReboundTAG has now been integrated with global baggage handling systems so that it can be used by consumers worldwide, wherever they are flying.

Developed in the UK, the pioneering tags cost £24.99 and contain two RFID (radio frequency identification) microchips.    The first RFID microchip is a permanent identifier, whilst the other is programmed to take flight details whenever passengers travel through airports using microchips. ReboundTAGs are integrated with global baggage handling systems and also have a barcode and number printed on so that they work in every airport in the world.

emma@adhoc-pr.com_1413917832_ReboundTAGThe robust tags give travelers the reassurance of knowing that their lost bag can be identified anywhere in the world, while they are updated in real-time, and eliminate the security risks posed by traditional tags which display personal details.

The ReboundTAG system sends SMS and email alerts to members as soon as their bag has been identified.  The luggage tag also stores a digital identifier (rather than the passenger’s details) securely on the microchip and barcode, ensuring their data remains anonymous.

In addition, ReboundTAG is designed so that their members can be updated even if the bag is found using the airlines’ own paper bag tags; ReboundTAG has exclusive arrangements with baggage handling companies who will search the global lost luggage databases to locate bags and keep users updated when the bag is found – even if it is found using the airline’s own paper tag.  This ensures ReboundTAG members are updated no matter how the bag is found, anywhere in the world.

“We have worked with airlines and airport systems developers to incorporate all of the relevant airline technologies into one tag” said CEO Max Rangeley, “we have the microchips, barcode, printed number, and also the exclusive system whereby the baggage handling company we work with will look for our members’ lost bags in the global databases and update them even if it is found using the airline paper tag.”

About ReboundTAG Microchip Bag Tag

Very tough microchip luggage tag that works for an unlimited number of flights within a full year initial membership period; renewal then costs only £4.99 per year and includes unlimited updates by email and SMS if an airline loses your bag. Available branded with any logo.

Price: £ 24.99

https://www.reboundtag.com

Tel: 00 44 (0) 1364 653 555

Finding, Buying & Improving a Period House – No.7

IS A PLANNING APPLICATION ALWAYS REQUIRED ?

Not all works of improvement and alteration will require a planning consent. Generally if they will increase the floor area as discussed above consent is required. There are exemptions where just a works declaration is needed or in some cases nothing is required.

The exemptions can vary from area to area and it is important to consult the relevant local development plan and take local advice. As a general guide if the increased floor area is less than 5m², nothing needs to be done.

If the property is in an urban area and the increased floor area is an extension to or is a conversion of part of an existing building and is up to 40m², just a works declaration is needed, if more a planning application must be made. If the increased floor area is a new detached building the exemption is reduced by half to 20m².

If the property is in a rural area the exemption for both extensions and new buildings is only up to 20m².

Conversion of attic spaces and creation of new mezzanine floors will increase the floor area. Log cabins and enclosed timber panel buildings in gardens are considered in the same way as other structures. Tree houses are not specifically mentioned in the planning regulations and are a grey area. If you are considering one it would be advisable to take advice from the Mairie.

WHAT ABOUT MINOR CHANGES?

Normally renovation and alteration works to the interior of a property do not require authorisation of any kind, but if it is a monument historique (listed building) planning consent is required in all cases. If the property is in a conservation area and the works modify the structure or affect an important architectural element that would also require planning consent. In these cases the planning authority will consult the Architecte des Bâtiments de France (ABF). Normally planning decisions are made within a couple of months, but when the ABF is involved it can take up to six months.

Attic conversions often require skylights and if the increased floor area up to 1.8 metres in height is more than the 20m²/40m² rural/urban exemption limit a consent will be required. If the property is within 500 metres of a monument classé, such as a fine church or château there is a good chance that the ABF will be consulted. Generally the ABF does not like large skylights over 0.5m², roof terraces and interlocking canal tiles. They are protecting the skyline that can be viewed from ground level or from the top of the monument. So perhaps it is not surprising that I frequently find large skylights that can not be seen from the ground or the monument. I suppose the owner’s thinking was “out of sight, out of mind” but I am aware that there is a department in the Finance Ministry perusing satellite images for undeclared swimming pools. The main purpose of a works declaration to my mind is to enable the property taxes to be increased. Who knows if the Finance Ministry talks to the ABF or if the ABF will recruit their own team?

image006These 0.5m² skylights are legal and have a secondary purpose, they open fully allowing access to the roof surface without the use of ladders for tile, chimney and flashings maintenance.            

image007The terrace of the house immediately below the château has to have a roof above in traditional materials so when viewed from above the roofline appears “historic”. In theory there should be consents for the satellite dishes, do you think there are?

The installation of a septic tank does not require a planning application or works declaration but it does need approval from the Mairie or the SPANC. This usually invloves a fee of up to 200 euros. Generally if the installation of a septic tank is part of a scheme involving a planning application, a separate demand for approval is not required but there are some local authorities who will require one.

A change of use from say barn to dwelling is most likely to require a planning application. You may not require one if it is permitted under the development plan and you are not going to make any alterations to the structure or external appearance, but that is quite unlikely. TVA is collected on the sale of new dwellings and it is my understanding that the conversion of a barn into a separate house is deemed to create a new dwelling.

Changes to the external appearance such as new render, new openings, solar panels and satellite dishes strictly speaking require at least a works declaration. I doubt that many are made, especially for dishes but they may be contentious in a conservation area. There are specific rules for solar panels that depend upon whether the property is in a conservation area, they are ground or roof mounted and the amount of the power output.

If you plan to live on site in a mobile home during the building works for more than three months it is most probable that you would require planning consent. If the Mairie tells you that consent is not required, ask them to put it in writing. A caravan parked in the grounds of a dwelling for occasional holiday use does not require consent.

It is up to the local authority to decide whether or not to control the height of boundary walls and fences. Generally if they are to be less than 2 metres high no consent is need, if they are to be higher at least a works declaration is likely to be required. It is most probable that there will be strict rules in conservation areas and near historic buildings.

JOHN MARSHALL – Chartered Valuation Surveyor § Building Pathologist

www.JohnMarshallSurveys.com

This article was originally published in French Property News.

 

Common sense will prevail

Investment in France

From time to time I am asked about investing in France.  Being an estate agent, my answers are always referring to property in one form or another.

Generally speaking I do not like to use the word investment when it comes to property as it implies receiving an income or a capital gain on selling. (Not likely in the current market). If buying a property for personal use think of it as an investment in a lifestyle.  France, for all its economic problems, continues to offer a great lifestyle….its food and wine, ancient and modern history, its many different regions offering all manner of sports and other activities.

Some basic rules

When buying a property be ruled by your head and not your heart!  It is often difficult not to be seduced by some of the beautiful properties on offer. Also, particularly at the moment, prices are down but do not compare prices there with prices in the U.K. Compare with other properties locally.

Renovation

Be aware that the costs of renovation are likely to be higher than estimated –   sometimes considerably higher.

Amenities and health care

Ensure you understand the French healthcare system and do you need to be near a hospital?

Do you have to return to the U.K. frequently? If so, ensure you choose a location with enables you to do this. (Airport, station, channel ports).

Bear in mind that rural locations are not served well by public transport – you will need a car.

If you have children, check on the local schools.

Do you require shops, bars etc. to be within walking or short driving distance?

Finance

Remember to allow for the cost of purchase – agency fees are usually included in prices quoted, but notaires fees and taxes will be an additional amount of around 7.5% of the purchase cost.

Remember that if you have a mortgage in Euros secured on the French property, and your income is in Sterling, the exchange rate is likely vary. If Sterling is strong against the Euro, so well and good, but if Sterling weakens, your repayments will be higher.

THINK AHEAD

If you are employed, what happens in the event of redundancy?

If you are a young couple without children, will the house be suitable if you start a family?

When it comes to selling, be sure that you have kept all bills for renovation work on the property to offset against a potential capital gain.

If you are retiring with a partner, consider what will happen if one of you dies.  Will the property have to be sold quickly as it, particularly as the market is at present, may take a long time.

Income from rentals

Income is not likely to be high for long term rentals which would usually be 3 years or more and will be taxed. Short term holiday rentals in the right locations can yield a high seasonal income, but again will be taxed.  With the exception of mountain / winter sports areas, the holiday season in France starts around Easter ending in September with July and particularly August being the key months.

Income from a business

If proposing to buy a business in France it is essential to have a good knowledge of French.

There are many different opportunities for investment in the leisure industry. Gîtes, chambres d’hôtes / B & B, hotels, equestrian centres, sporting estates – fishing, hunting etc. If buying an existing business be certain that the figures given by the vendor add up. (Due diligence). If buying a property to start a business be aware of the costs involved. Do not expect a single gîte with a house to give you enough money to live on – expect ‘pin money’. Several gîtes are required for a reasonable income.

by William Pearson  Prime French Properties

Courchevel 1550′s latest development

Carré Blanc –  a new and highly anticipated development located in the heart of Courchevel 1550.

Due for completion in December 2016, Knight Frank is supporting the sale of 38 high specification apartments which will redefine Alpine living. On sale from 360,000€, Carré Blanc delivers a combination of lifestyle and investment.

 Carre Blanc exterior 2“A development of this calibre rarely becomes available, let alone in one of the most famous alpine resorts and most celebrated and accessible ski domains in the world.”

Located in the heart of Courchevel 1550, surrounded by multiple local amenities, Carré Blanc offers a unique opportunity to own a fully serviced apartment in the Courchevel Valley. Set at the foot of the piste in 1550, Courchevel 1850 is conveniently and immediately accessed in less than two minutes by the late running telécabins situated only 130 metres away from the development. The exceptional location – both central and close to the ski slopes is definitely one of the best in Courchevel 1550.

“The development will offer a selection of upscale apartment types from two to four rooms, providing a variety of different outlooks and finishes. In addition, Carré Blanc will offer a full time management company and concierge onsite with all apartments qualifying to a rental pool providing a potential annual return.”

3P Living room CGIMajestic and warm, Carré Blanc is inspired by traditional Savoyard chalets and fits in respectfully and harmoniously in the heart of the village. By buying 4P Living room CGIhere, owners will have access to the world’s largest skiing area, through the Trois Vallées – Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens. Courchevel itself is spread over five altitudes, each village offering a different view to Courchevel life.  The vast array of non-skiing activities is another plus point for investing in the resort, making it suitable for both winter and summer holidays. And, with the announcement of 120€ million investment plan to upgrade the lift system and additional investment in the Aquatic Centre between 1550 and 1650 – Courchevel will continue to thrive.

For further information, please contact:

Roddy Aris    Knight Frank International   +44 (0) 20 7861 1727

Have you thought of making your primary home a ski lodge in the French Alps?

As the ski season is coming up it might be time to look at Morzine in the French Alps for a primary home  instead of buying at home in the UK.

With young professionals from London or Geneva preferring to put their money into a large property in a resort, while keeping a smaller property or even a rental property as their home during the working week in the city. Ultimately people are making the choice of coming and buying in Morzine because people are searching for a change of lifestyle and whatever that lifestyle is, for a lot of people Morzine and the Portes du Soleil can offer it, whether you are a skier, biker, climber, walker, yoga enthusiast, painter, nature lover, musician, professional triathlete.

The joy is they can use their UK address if they want to enjoy the benefits of renting their property out in the ski season. 

Slightly ironically as it is actually not just the size of the ski area and new infrastructures like the Prodains lift and the development of the snow parks in Avoriaz and Les Gets that are the biggest factor. Unique Living thinks the combination of Morzine’s approximity with Geneva and the short transfer time has encouraged people to come here. This combined with Lake Geneva and its beaches being only twenty minutes away and the fantastic new indoor and outside swimming pool complex, allowing all year things to do. It is becoming the new hot training spot for triathletes and swimmers. Training conditions and facilities are perfect, offering lake, pool, altitude and Tour de France mountain passes for bikers. The French national swimming team trained in the Morzine pool last winter and for British triathletes, this is their new favourite spot.

For families with members that don’t ski, or that aren’t particularly sporty, there are great shops and restaurants and a growing cultural and music scene provided by the local tourist office and local businesses.

1412802040_originalWithin the property market, there is also something for everyone from farms that need renovating starting at around 250,000€ to ski studios at 90,000€ and luxury chalets up to 3,000,000€; there is something for every budget. The ski bus service in resort and from the outlying villages is excellent and you never have to travel more than 20 minutes every morning to get to the slopes, even from the furtherest located villages.

Prices continue to rise and although properties in the heart of Morzine are the always the most sought after, the outlying 1408136437_originalvillages also offer great investment opportunities for people with lower budgets, as there is a growing market for holidays away from the maddening crowd.

Exchange rates and low mortgage rates at the moment are obviously helping the market, but most importantly a fantastic return on investment is a given in an area where one can expect to earn from 20,000€ to 45,000€ a season for an apartment or ski chalet.

1398805240_originalby Lucy Tinker  Unique Living 

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