We have been doing sums on the subject of the gite hunt.
The area we like (and could afford) is Western Brittany. That means sailing to St Malo or Roscoff with Brittany Ferries who are the most expensive. That means each trip would be £300-£500 depending on how far in advanced you booked etc. Doing that 3-5 times a year starts getting very expensive. Plus we would have to drive from Cardiff to either Portsmouth or Plymouth (both 3.5 hours) with all that petrol/diesel which is also expensive.
Apart from anything else the travelling costs are a major hurdle, and as this was supposed to make a certain amount of money by doing the gite up, it would seem that to use it would spend all the profit before you make it. Maybe that is why so many French properties are going cheap.
We saw one near Domfront which the owner is apparently desperate to sell, and we could probably have bought a 2/3 bed house, 1/2 bed gite next door, barn (falling down) garage and acre of land for between £40-50,000. They needed work and we did a rough estimate of about £15k needed to bring the house and the gite up to a reasonable standard, but what would it then be worth? If someone can't sell it at that price.....
The seller selects the price in France which leads to some bizarre prices. For instance in Finistere you can buy a 3 bed cottage with all furniture, nicely done up, ready to move into, for the same price as a barn with no roof, no plumbing, no electricity. Where is the sense in that?
Reason has prevailed over the -somewhat romantic - idea of a cottage in France. We had a lovely picture of family and friends joining us there, using the place for their own holidays etc while at the same time making the money B has saved work harder and earn more than it can do sitting in savings in the UK. But the cold economic facts of getting there and back are making it too expensive to undertake, which is a shame in a way, but you do have to listen to cold reason most of the time.
Unless we have won the lottery tonight of course, in which case.........