French wine country popular with overseas buyers
An increasing interest in winemaking is driving demand for French properties among international property investors, a global property franchise based in Belfast has said.
BeckettHanlon said vineyards were growing in popularity for those with money to spend on commercial property overseas.
One Northern Ireland businessman who is already living the dream of owning a vineyard in France is Terry Cross, the chairman of Delta Print and Packaking in west Belfast. Mr Cross has been the owner of Chateau de la Ligne in Bordeaux since 2000.
BeckettHanlon's research comes after a report by Barclays found there are an estimated 14,000 millionaires in Northern Ireland - many of whom may be interested in property abroad.
Figures from the Rightmove Overseas Search Report 2015 showed France is now the second most popular overseas property destination for UK buyers after Spain, with winemaking regions Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence two of the most popular areas.
Drew Beckett, chief executive of BeckettHanlon, said: "Owning a vineyard is the ultimate dream for many people, and in the past 12 months demand for French properties, particularly in the winemaking regions, has grown considerably.
"Whilst the traditional wine-producing regions of Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy remain popular, international investors are looking towards properties in Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon as two more affordable options."
He said some buyers were buying rows of vines within established vineyards.
"This has the distinct advantage in that you can buy the vines wherever you want, they don't necessarily have to be beside your property. You are still rewarded with wine, but without necessarily having to put in the same long hours," he said.
Mr Beckett said he had noticed a rise in inquiries about French properties from buyers in Northern Ireland.
"We attribute this to the fact that asking prices for French properties have fallen considerably in the last few years and that exchange rates are extremely favourable at present," he added.