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French village's €1 land offer sparks global frenzy

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French village's €1 land offer sparks global frenzy
The deserted centre of Berrien in northwestern France. Photo: GoogleMaps
14:51 CEST+02:00
The mayor of a tiny, underpopulated village in northwestern France has been inundated with calls from around the world after he decided to sell off land for just €1 per square metre in a bid to attract new villagers.
The village of Berrien has a serious problem. There aren't enough youngsters to justify having a local school. 
 
To make matters worse for the village, which is in Finistère in the very north west France, the population of 987 people is on the decline. 
 
In an effort to save the school, village heads announced last week that they would sell off ten plots of land at around 800sqm each for just €1 per square metre ($1.13). 
 
Yes, you read that right. A whole plot of land would set you back less than the monthly rent of an average apartment in Paris. 
 
The land is normally valued at €9.50 per square metre, meaning it's almost being sold at a tenth of their market value. 
 
And the idea seems to have struck a bell. Since the announcement went out last week, the phone at the mayor's office hasn't stopped ringing. In fact, one hour saw 50 calls, a secretary told local media.
 
 

(Could this be your new local church? Photo: GoogleMaps)
 
"We've had calls from the Philippines, the US, Morocco..." Mayor Paul Quéméner told The Local. "In all we've had about 300 calls from people expressing their interest.
 
"It's been a huge success and it's created far more interest than we could have imagined."
 
But not all of the interested parties match the strict criteria that comes with a plot of land in Berrien. Buyers must commit to building a property within two years. 
 
The mayor is also strongly encouraging young families, and admits that he has no interest in people simply looking to make an investment.
 
 
"It's a lovely village and region to move to," said Quemener. "It's great walking country and in the village itself there are plenty of amenities. It's very tranquil."
 
The mayor says Berrien village is home to numerous English expats and even boasts a British councillor.  
 
Of all the 300 official applications so far, around 30 are being taken seriously. A further five or six have already taken steps to making the dream a reality.
 
If you're thinking about making a serious application, we recommend you read why the experts are saying that 2015 is the year to buy a home in France. Good luck.
 
Another village has tried a similar tactic in the past. Champ-du-Boult in Normandy also sold land for €1 in April after a mass exodus of young people seeking greener pastures elsewhere. 
 
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