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Property blog: The parts of France where you can still find bargains

The price of property around France is rising but that doesn't mean there aren't some incredible bargains to be had. Here are the best places to find them according to Leggett Immobilier.

Property blog: The parts of France where you can still find bargains
Photo: Leggett Immobilier

Everyone knows that the price of property in France is still amazing and although the market is on the up, there are some fantastic bargains still to be had right across the country – even in some areas that you might not imagine.  

As you would think, the rural areas are usually where the best priced properties are to be found.  

Limousin and la France profonde

The Limousin (Creuse / Correze / Haute Vienne) is a stunning region filled with beautiful green forests, hills and countryside and some of the best priced property in France – the average price for a house in the Creuse is just €63,000.

According to an Expat forum, there are over 7,000 Brits currently living in the Limousin.
 
The area is full of wonderful, lush, green countryside reminiscent of Devon and the west of England, with little rivers, streams and lakes all over the place, perhaps that is the reason why it is so popular with the British.
 
(The map below shows the concentration of where British nationals live in south west France.)
 

But it isn’t just in La France Profonde where you can lay your hands on a bargain.  Some parts of the country that aren’t traditionally associated with bargains can still deliver pockets of great priced properties.  

Think you can’t afford the Cote d’Azur?  Think again.  Just an hour or so from the Mediterranean coast you can pick up some beautiful properties in one of the most exclusive parts of France for under €200,000 – you’ve just go to know where to look. 

Up in the hills the prices are much lower than on the coast.  The pace of life is slow and the villages are still traditional communities, but just a short drive will see you rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous.

 

Further along the Mediterranean coast, the former region of Languedoc-Roussillon is a beautiful part of France with some amazingly priced properties and some stunning countryside.  Here you can live the southern French lifestyle for even less.  

The area holds many hidden gems including stunning vineyards (and wine!), beautiful historic towns; and in some areas, you can even spend the morning skiing and then drive down to the Med for a swim in the afternoon.

Ski properties don’t have to break the bank either, the Pyrenees has some fantastic ski resorts that are much cheaper and quieter than the Alps.  These are great investments (as are properties in the Alps) as they have year round rental potential – these areas come alive in the summer too – with walkers, climbers and outdoor sports enthusiasts of all kinds.  

The Atlantic coast is ideal if you are looking for sun and sea, as well as surf and for a smaller price tag that some parts of the Mediterranean coast.  Temperature wise, the area around La Rochelle is similar to southern France and the average price of a house in the Charente Maritime is just €165,000 and around an hour from the coast you can pick up home much more cheaply.

Then there are the perennial favorites with British purchasers, Brittany, Normandy and the Dordogne all continue to offer fantastic value for money.  Whether it is a holiday bolt hole for under €50,000 or a business opportunity for under €250,000, there is a reason why these beautiful regions continue to be so appealing to British purchasers.

And as for a hidden gem?

In Alps de Haute Provence, south eastern France, the pretty medieval town of Uzes is on the other side of the Rhone from the Cote d'Azur, with manageable property prices.
 
Famous for its olive oil, silk mills and of course, black truffles, which does grow all over the southern France, but the focus from November till March is Uzes.
 
Uzes is just 45mins from Avignon.
 
 

France is a beautiful varied country with something to offer every taste.  Property prices remain low, but with the economy improving and the market on the rise, now is an ideal time to buy.

by Mary Hawkins from Leggett Immobilier

To check out what bargains Leggett Immobilier has on offer around France you can CLICK HERE.

 

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PROPERTY

MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

While French cities such as Paris are notoriously expensive, there are many areas outside the cities where it is still possible to buy spacious homes for less than €100,000 - particularly if you don't mind a bit of renovation.

MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

We decided to look at where in France you could afford a property on a budget of €100,000, and it turns out there are some bargains to be had.

There are a lot of caveats while searching for property, and many local variables in place, but our search does show some of the areas to concentrate on if you have a limited budget.

We used the Notaires de France immobilier website in August 2022, and we specified that the property should have at least five rooms (including kitchen and bathroom) and a floor space of at least 100 square metres.

We also discounted any property that was for sale under the viager system – a complicated purchase method which allows the resident to release equity on their property gradually, as the buyer puts down a lump sum in advance and then pays what is effectively a rent for the rest of the seller’s lifetime, while allowing them to remain in the property.

READ ALSO Viager: The French property system that can lead to a bargain

For a five-room, 100 square metre property at under €100,000, you won’t find anywhere in the Île-de-France region, where the proximity of Paris pushes up property prices. The city itself is famously expensive, but much of the greater Paris region is within commuting distance, which means pricier property. 

Equally the island of Corsica – where prices are pushed up by its popularity as a tourist destination – showed no properties for sale while the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur – which includes the French Riviera – showed only 1 property under €100,000.

The very presence of Bordeaux, meanwhile, takes the entire département of Gironde out of this equation – but that doesn’t mean that the southwest is completely out of the running. A total of 25 properties came up in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. One property was on the market for a mere €20,000 – but it was, as the Notaires’ brochure noted, in need of “complete renovation”.

Neighbouring Occitanie, meanwhile, showed 12 further properties in the bracket.

By far the most properties on the day of our search – 67 – were to be found in the Grand Est region of eastern France. The eastern part of France overall comes out best for property bargains, with the north-east region of Hauts-de-France showing 38 properties and and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté displaying 25.

Further south, however, the presence of the Alps – another popular tourist destination – pushed up prices in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region which showed just three results.

The below map shows our search results, with darker colours indicating more cheap properties.

Property buying tips 

In order to make a comparison, we focused our search on properties advertised online, but if you have a specific area in mind it's well worth making friends with a few local real estate agents and perhaps also the mayor, since it's common for properties not to be advertised online.

Most of the truly 'bargain' properties are described as being "in need of renovation" - which is real estate speak for a complete wreck.

If you don't mind doing a bit of work you can often pick up property for low prices, but you need to do a clear-eyed assessment of exactly how much work you are willing and able to do, and what the cost is likely to be - there's no point getting a "cheap" house and then spending three times the purchase price on renovations.

READ ALSO 'Double your budget and make friends with the mayor' - tips for French property renovation

That said, there were plenty of properties at or near the €100,000 mark that were perfectly liveable or needed only relatively minor renovations.

You also need to pay attention to the location, as the sub-€100,000 properties are often in remote areas or very small villages with limited access to amenities. While this lifestyle suits many people, bear in mind that owning a car is a requirement and you may end up paying extra for certain services.

Finally remember that government help, in the form of loans and grants, is available for environmentally friendly improvements, such as insulation or glazing.

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