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Aude - Property & Land Price Movements

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I've been following a Capital Gains Tax Thread on the Property Owner's Forum. It's attracting lots of contributors.
Does anyone see any real evidence of price fluctuations in the Aude area? I'm not aware of it myself.
This is not a 'speculative' or investment issue for us, more a matter of 'tax planning' - deciding now whether we should organise ourselves so that our house in Quillan becomes our main residence.
If prices aren't moving significantly, then we can cross this off our list of considerations.
To anyone brave or knowledgable enough to offer a view, thanks in advance.
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Know body really knows in Quillan because of the closure of Formica (and Huntsman) which will be completely closed the first week in April, production has now stopped and there is a skeleton crew on site at the moment to decommission equipment (my mate is one of them).

Many of the employees in and around Quillan have been offered relocation to Bilbao (probably spelt that wrong) in Spain and some place in North Wales (bet that went down a treat). Some are going to Spain and others are going on 'the dole'. With no settlement via the unions they only get the statuary redundancy payment. The mayor is concerned that there will be more people around on the streets with nothing to do (bit of competition for the local beggars).

However the upside of this it that tourism is being strongly promoted in the area both by the Conseil General and the mayor. A down side is that the mayor is trying to get the area marked down as an economic disaster area so he can get money from the EU. He has lost nearly half his budget with money no longer available from both Formica and Huntsman which was some 800k per year (bet he wishes he hadnt bought those nice new blue street lamps now).

Some agents believe its a buoyant market with regards to property sales whilst other more conservative ones believe as much as a 20% drop is on the cards. Certainly not much moved after October 2003 till end of Jan 2004 in comparison to previous years. I have to say that I have seen quite a few people moving out of rented accommodation over the last month or two. Another upside is that there is more restaurants set to open (but only for the tourist season) plus a bar and somebody said (I really hope they are joking and were trying to wind me up) an English bar and fish and chip/curry shop.

So all in all it will be an interesting year and if I were you I would sit back and watch what actually happens before making any decision. You know whats its like down here, ask 5 people and get 5 different answers.
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brave rather than knowledgable
One of the big Quillan estate agents has apparently opened a new branch on the Ariege/Aude border at Chalabre (I live in a satellite village) and my local electrician told me that there is lots of mostly foreign activity in the property market there right now.

My intuition is prices of the strip immediately either side of the Aude river itself (Carcassonne/Limoux/Quillan) are flat - minus local economy issues as Chris has pointed out - and foreign attention is going to the villages further from the valley itself.

- Ian
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