A new French property scheme defying the downturn

A new French property scheme defying the downturn

In this day and age it's not exactly commonplace for new property developments to sell like hot cakes.

But one new scheme in the Languedoc, south-west France, has sold 50 per cent of its properties already, following on from its predecessor project, which sold out in sold out in four months four years ago.

So why such success in such a tricky market?

The location for starters: the Languedoc offers the superb climate of southern France, yet is more affordable than Provence and the Cote D'Azur.

Then there's the nature of the product. "Part of the success of this developer's two projects has been its ability to judge just what buyers want when it comes to a holiday home in France," says PR agent Lana Wrightman.

So the developer is Karl O'Hanlon, an Irishman with a long successful track record in the Languedoc.

He and his family moved to the region nearly 15 years ago and he started his own firm, Domaine & Demeure in 2008 with a view to renovating historic chateaux in the region and creating apartments within the chateau and villas from the outbuildings.

His previous project, Chateau Les Carrasses, has proven to be a big success and is fully booked most weeks of the year.

It sold at a little under €4,800 per square metre and buyers have been from the UK, Ireland, USA, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Russia, Hong Kong and Romania.

The new project, Chateau St Pierre de Serjac, is a development of 36 apartments and villas on a beautiful wine estate (pictured). Prices start from €198,000 for a studio, to €1m for a four-bed house with private pool.

Each villa and apartment features its own private entrance and most come with their own garden and pool. Eight of the properties will be newly built with the rest converted from the historic chateau or from one of the period outbuildings.

Aside from the working winery, which is to be comprehensively upgraded - by his partner, Bonfils, one of France's largest wine producers- the estate will also feature a restaurant, wine bar, indoor and outdoor pool, clay court tennis and a host of other facilities.

Residents can join in the wine harvest, receive a portion of the yield and also get an underground spiral wine cellar installed. Sounds tempting? See

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