Looking to buy a property in France, but not sure where to start searching? These five locations are considered to be “ones to watch” by Home Hunts, where you just might find a bargain…
The French property market has made an impressive comeback over the last decade. According to Notaires de France, in 2016 there were 867,000 transactions of resale properties (excluding new builds). This is 30,000 more than in 2006, which was the peak of the property market before the financial crisis hit in 2008.
Economically-speaking, low interest rates, favourable mortgage deals and attractive currency pairings have been behind the French property market’s return to strength. In every other sense France’s coveted culture, climate, gastronomy, lifestyle and sandy shores can take the credit.
House prices are starting to rise across the country and financial experts predict a rise in interest rates over the next six to 12 months. Buyers are looking for ways to invest now before it becomes a seller’s market again. But when it comes to choosing where to buy, which locations are the ones where you could add real value to your property purchase over the course of a 15-year mortgage? After carrying out research and compiling data for Home Hunts’ property insights report, Inside France, the team has five location recommendations for buyers seeking long-term investment property deals in France.
The Alps: Le Biot
The most sought-after locations by overseas buyers in the French Alps include the Lake Geneva area and Annecy, as well as ski resorts such as Morzine and Les Gets. Many buyers are keen to buy homes that aren’t far from Geneva, so that needs for both business and pleasure are met. But where can overseas buyers look to try and find more affordable options?
“Le Biot offers much better value than Morzine or Les Gets,” says Victoria Meneely-Holt, an Alps-based Home Hunts consultant. “A property costing over €2 million in Morzine would be half the price in Le Biot, which is still only 20 minutes from the main ski area in the same valley.”
Le Biot is just 10km from Morzine. A typical market town nestled above the Col du Corbier, it is an idyllic spot at half the price of its flashier neighbours.
The French Riviera: Grasse
With a world-famous perfume industry that emerged in the 16th century, Grasse is renowned for its micro-climate, but not necessarily for its prime property market. However, with more than one million tourist visits each year and an expensive regeneration programme underway in the centre, property in Grasse is attracting attention. By the end of 2019, work on a five-screen cinema, new homes and parking spaces will be completed, and by 2021 the town will also include a new four-star hotel and shops, modern offices and beautiful public gardens.
“House prices in Grasse are generally about 25% or so lower than many of the neighbouring villages and towns, but this will not be the case for much longer,” says Tim Swannie, Director of Home Hunts. “There is so much choice in terms of property styles in Grasse and many of them offer panoramic views of the entire Riviera.”
Languedoc: Béziers (Occitanie)
Speak to a French person in the region and they will tell you that Beziers has had something of a reputation over the years. However, over the last few years improvements have been made in the city and the property market is picking up. Located on the Orb River, it has many famous landmarks, including the Saint-Nazaire cathedral, the bull-fighting arena, built in 1897, and Les Allees Paul-Riquet, a wide boulevard named after Pierre-Paul Riquet who designed and built the Canal du Midi.
“They have renovated many parts of the centre of the town and are continuing to do so,” says Tim. “Some of the main central streets in the town are undergoing something of a facelift and Les Halles, the food market and restaurant area, is in the middle of renovation.”
Once the home of Van Gogh and renowned for its artists and photographers, Arles is an inspiring city with a full calendar of events throughout the year. Positioned on the banks of the Rhône river, the town is peppered with Roman monuments, including some which date back to the 1st century and are listed as UNESCO heritage sites.
“Arles is becoming more and more popular and they are renovating parts of the centre,” says Tim. “There are several new developments happening in the town, such as the stunning new Frank Gehry-designed tower, which is being built on the site of an old SNCF station that is being transformed into an art campus.”
A new Van Gogh museum has also just opened and many new shops and restaurants are appearing throughout the town.
“This is definitely a town to watch in Provence,” says Tim.
Midi-Pyrénées: Cahors (Occitanie)
Cahors, renowned for its robust black wine made from the Malbec grape, in the Lot department is becoming more popular with buyers looking for properties that can generate some income.
“There are many châteaux and estates in this area which offer excellent value for money,” says Rory Ramsden, a Home Hunts consultant for South West France. “Buyers are generally looking for large properties either for secluded holiday homes or to create an income, such as a B&Bs.”
Affordability and lifestyle are key factors in the rise of second home purchases in the Cahors area. “This is the perfect place to enjoy a slower pace of life, visit local markets and savour local delicacies,” says Rory.
If you are looking to buy a property in France, you can search for property at www.home-hunts.com. To learn more about opportunities in the French property market, read a free copy of Home Hunts’ new property insights magazine, Inside France. To find out how Home Hunts can help you find your dream property, call +33 (0)970 44 66 43.