Reductions in property prices

I have been looking for a property in the Southern part of France and find some of the reductions in the asking prices of property for sale on websites to be unbelievable. One can often find apparent reductions of 30% or above (1,431,000 to 892,000 - a reduction of 38%, 1,260,000 to 736,700 - a reduction of 41%. (not that I can afford 1,000,000 but it is nice to dream)).

Are the original priced just set by vendors who are ‘a little over enthusiastic’ about the price of their property or are to some vendors ‘chancers’ hoping that some fool will pay way over the asking price having fallen in love with the property?

Or is that just my cynical nature and such reductions are applied to properties which are desperate to be sold?

Also, in relation to properties that are priced ‘normally’ what sort or reduction could one expect on the asking price. When carrying out research I have found various websites that suggest reductions of anything between (no more than) 5% or 20% are the norm.

Any advice/input on the above would be most welcome and I thank you in advance.

Hi Paul

Here in Normandy things appear to be the same. A property near to us went up for sales in Oct for 109,000. It is now at 84,000.

Having said that properties do seem to sell.


A property not far from where I live was priced by an agent at 88000 euros, by my reckoning, and others who know the house, the realistic price would have been 48000 euros. The owner went along with the price (obviously) given by the agent.
6 years down the line the property has finally been sold at 44000 !

There is another property that I know, fantastic house, gite, pool and a garden to dream about, no work at all needed. The owner has reduced the price because very ill health is forcing a move back to the UK. A real bargain in my opinion.

So, sometimes the agents are too over the top, sometimes the owners want more than the house is worth, it’s then when the property ‘sticks’ that prices are reduced to a more realistic level.

Sometimes as mentioned earlier, and sadly, it’s ill health or family circumstances that dictate that a price has to be drastically reduced, not because the property was overpriced !

I have advised a Belgium friend who had her house valued by an agent at over 90000 euros (not a chance of a snowball in hell at that price) to ask a notaires opinion. A huge difference in the price and a more realistic one. She is settling at a bit higher than the notaire :thinking:

1 Like


??? :confounded:

Hi Colin… and welcome to the Forum. Please will you complete the registration page, giving your Full Name as per our T & C.


hi there
I bought my house in Sunny Provence 6 years ago, and at the same time sold my previous house near Versailles. My experience is that a “correctly priced house” will sell within 3 - 4 months. Negotiation margin around 5 - 10%.
If the seller wants
to hold out for more then sales do happen but can take 6 to 18 months, especially in the south. Paris are is more active with always plenty of buyers.

Thanks for your replies. Any other input would be welcomed

We have just bought a house with lots of out building and land and was priced reasonably. we looked at 2, one of which they wanted to give us the price on viewing, i actually laughed when they told us the price at the end and tld my wife to lets go. property has since been sold at under 50k (at the time vendor was selling privately and would not budge a single euro from his asking price.

what people thing a house is worth and what its actually worth are 2 very different ideas.

(we looked at more that 2 in person and hundreds on paper or digital but only looked physically at a few house.)

How much were they asking when you viewed it?

could be this… :thinking:

Oh and the second house we viewed which was over priced also still sits for sale, along with its mud floors…

We did put in a number with them which they came back and said yes if we add 5 thousand on top, by which time we found out the farmer neighbour was not a very nice person and hated dogs so we decided to not go for that one.

6 months later this house came along and we paid nearly the asking price for it as it was put on the market to sell. They even threw in all the fields round the house for 2 thousand 500 euros which used to have a house on it so there is possibilities there for us at a later date.

There are many little gems in rural France. I know quite a few round us have ben sold and advertised for very reasonable prices. All depends what your looking for.

In my experience you find a large price reduction when the seller has decided to put his own valuation on , held on for a couple of years waiting for someone to fall in love with the property as they did, and then becoming desperate and so dropping to a price to sell (often much lower than they could have sold it for originally). As to putting in an offer, the agent should know roughly what their client is prepared to accept although often the seller themselves doesn’t know what they will accept until an offer arrives. I would say there is no real rule of offers other than common sense but as a buyer, if you have done your research of properties in the area, you should have a good idea of the value and then its up to you how cheeky you feel. A seller can always say No however if the offer is to cheeky, you risk them not wanting to entertain future offers as they don’t trust you.

I must admit I pitied the (French) owner of the property we bought - he’d acquired it in 2007, did loads of work (inexplicably not the kitchen though by that time he probably figured out he wasn’t going to get his money back) then sold it to to us for 7k€ less than he paid for the house. I gave him full price but that was mostly because he’d dropped his asking price by 10k€ about 2 weeks before we viewed so I figured he wasn’t ready to go down any further. Apparently he’d had another offer but they held out and he held out so no deal was struck. We benefited from the almost 50k€ that he had put into doing the place up.

Doubt it would sell for what I paid to be honest, it is, at least a property which could  appeal to a French buyer - neo-Breton style, small village, mains drainage. The village population is on the up at the moment but commerce has fled. They are clinging onto the school at the for the time being which is something.

I’ve no plans to sell though, despite Brexit

This is a subject that has interested me for quite some time. having studied the french property market for over 30 years and with 10 years negotiating experience here, I’ll throw my 2 pennies worth in. Indeed, vendors will naturally be over optimistic when placing a value on their property, particularly if they have perhaps paid over the odds in the first place, as was sadly the case with my clients, a lovely retired British couple , who had lived abroad before, but spoke very little French and thus relied on a local British agent to ‘hand hold’ through the process from search to signature. To cut a long story short, a 3 bedroomed detached property on a lotissement with a real value at the time of somewhere between 380,0000 and 420,000 absolutely top whack, and not previously listed on the agents own website site was ’ found’ by the agent and sold to them for 550 000. A price which pleased both the French vendor and the British agent enormously… Sadly, the couple found the language barrier difficult to overcome and after a couple of years decided to sell, engaging the same British agent… Result? Unsurprisingly 3 visits in 18 months, no offers. Other agents were offered the property, myself included (I was employed by a large all French company) with just one accepting to market the property at the same, grossly inflated price. I made it clear that with all good conscience, we would be unlikely to attract interest at the current asking price and left them with a valuation that trod a delicate line between reality and damage limitation for them. It was slowly dawning on them that they’d been well and truly ‘had’. Eventually the property was sold by another French agency at over 130,000 less than the asking price, which of course impacted their future plans considerably. They would have saved a lot of money and heartache had they paid an impartial translator to accompany them in their search for a property in France.

Sadly, this is a long way from being an isolated case and I’d be here all day if I were to recount all the horror stories!

There are other british and the occasional french agencies who seem to be trying to create a UK style property boom all on their own, with, frankly laughable asking prices for properties and which within a matter of weeks re appear at a substantial and sometimes quite unbelievable reduction. This would indicate that either:

  1. A serious problem with the property has been found.

  2. A real lack of professionalism and training on the part of the agent or their ‘Agent Commerciale’ if they are unable to value properties correctly.

  3. Perhaps I’m being cynical by suggesting maybe a deliberate strategy on the part of the agency to encourage both French and British owners to sign the mandat de vente by playing on the ‘foreign buyers have bigger budgets’ myth ( particularly attractive to french vendors) or the ‘need for ease of comms’ vulnerability of British vendors and then once vendors are tied in to the contract, blaming a downturn in the market/ Brexit/ the Royal baby or whatever, for the resulting ( but perfectly normal) lack of interest in a vastly overpriced property… For any agent, an impressive portfolio is pivotal for healthy sales. It’s a numbers game and Ag Co’s are usually under pressure to bring in a minimum number of new mandats per month.

A property at the correct market price for the area - which is easily verified by good internet and local research including town plans etc ( vital for both buyers and sellers) with professional photographs, an honest description ( even more critical for overseas buyers ) and a professional translation, is a property that will normally sell within a reasonable amount of time if marketed correctly, whether by French agents, British agents or indeed your own good self, if you are willing to invest a good amount in advertising. An overpriced property will lose credibility very quickly if subject to frequent or significant reductions and thus may well sit on the market for a good while longer, even after a price reduction. It is well worth refreshing the advertising at the same time with a new set of photographs which reflect the current season, perhaps taken at different angles and also that any new improvements to the house or gardens.


Thanks for this very clear and informed post… :relaxed:


Funny story was our house we bough was sent to me via an english agent the day after we signed. (I had contracted them before but they had not got back to me) I had asked in the origional email if there was a bit of negotiation in the price and they said firmly in their reply to me offering to shw me th house that the owners would not budge an inch and that she had spoken to them about it that very morning. Funny really since we had agreed to but the previous day and the owners were very happy to negotiate and we got our place for 23 thousand less than the asking price, we told them what we could afford before we even visited and our offer was accepted on the same day and they even offered us a free extra plot of land as they had fallen out with the farmer who was using it.

When i called them out in an email reply saying i found it hard to believe as the house was already sold subject to terms. they didnt believe me and i told them well it definitely is as we are already setting up our appointent with the notaire. they said so you went with another agent and i was like well yes we emailed you and left you messages weeks ago about it and you ignored us.

Properties are sometimes overpriced and will only sell when the price is reduced, this depends on the circumstances and a reduction cannot be presumed for every property for sale as many will be priced realistically. Many British sellers think about the price in pounds that they hope to achieve and might accept a lower offer in euros when the euro is strong. Close neighbours wanted £120,000 for their house a couple of years ago so initially advertised it for over €160,000. They actually sold it soon after the referendum when the €130,000 they were offered still gave them what the wanted in pounds.
If you visit or possibly even discuss a property with an agent they are likely to ask you to sign a mandate linking you to the house through them. After that, even if you approach the sellers privately and obtain a large discount on the asking price you are still liable to pay the agent .

If you do your homework properly, and put equal effort into actually visiting and seeing what you will get for your money (Internet searching has its limitations) you will/should have as good an idea on the real price as any Agent/Seller.

We looked at between 120 -150 houses and reasonably quickly gained as good an estimating skill as the so called Professionals. When we first saw our house it was vacant and only had a Notaires telephone number. When they said they wanted €25000 less than the price I put on it, I knew it was the place for us.

You saw 120-150, why that many Tony?