This post is also available in: Français (French)
When you work for an estate agent it doesn’t take a new acquaintance long to ask how the market is. It’s just being polite I guess! Beyond that our customers like to ask too. In that case it’s called “doing your homework”.
I have written my thoughts on the subject from time to time. The blog has articles on it in 2017, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2010, and twice in 2009! I note that my favourite month to do this is June or July. That is no surprise when you see our website stats for the year
You can see that the number of visitors to our website in June is the lowest of the year, the same with the number of new enquiries. That picks up in July and then the volume is maintained for the Autumn. That is not to say we aren’t doing visits in these quiet months, quite often we are making visits that have been organised in the preceding months. Because most of the properties we have for sale are rented during the season it makes sense to make the visits outside of the holiday seasons. As they stand the best chance of being available to view!
I’ve had a quick look to see if we can see a trend for completion dates. I can’t see anything. From year to year our peak months for completions seem to be totally random.
Enough of my musings on season variations. What about the actual market? In general this is going to read very much like my 2017 roundup. Probably better. Back then I was reporting good stability, equal numbers of buyers and sellers. The past winter has been very busy for us. In fact one of the busiest we have ever had in our 20 years. It got to a point where the market started to feel like it was overheating.
We had had a good snow season. It started a little late but other than that we had sunshine and snow! Our most important customer base is the French and they remain positive, our Anglophone customers are bored of Brexit and so for many it is business as usual. Thirdly, our Swiss based buyers are still feeling well off and are keen on our area. Third equal are now Belgium or Dutch customers. They have always been here but their numbers are up this year. come Everyone still wants to fulfil their dream of owning a second home in the mountains! As of June/July 2019 the overheating has calmed down now thanks to a drop in the €/£ exchange rate. This is very much linked to Brexit.
Historically we have talked about the language our customers speak. Not their nationality. However we could talk about their city bases. London and Paris obviously feature at the top followed by Geneva, however now we also talk of Brussels and Amsterdam. One of the unintended consequences of Brexit is a shift out of London towards these other European cities. And Geneva is so well connected to them all. Another reason our area remains popular.
Exchange rate effect?
Looking at the following graph would lead you to believe that the overheating was exchange rate related. I don’t think that is the case. The first reason being that our UK based customers are now only 40% of our market. The second being that the although the graph looks exciting, it really isn’t when viewed over multiple years. You can see that in the second image. Here you can see that the exchange rate has not fluctuated much in the last 3 years.
1 yr €/£ rate
5 yr €/£ rate
The big change we have felt over the last year or so is the addition of lots of new build apartments in all the main ski areas. They are generally well positioned and built to a very high standard with prices to match. So much so, that we have build a dedicated page for new build properties on our website
Here you’ll see 18 new developments that we have for sale across the Haute Savoie. All these new developments have come about thanks to a healthy market but also thanks to a change in building zones from central government. In an attempt to densify the towns and conversely strengthen the green belt, local government has been instructed to relax town planning regulations. This is the result.