SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

PROPERTY

French property hotspots: The coastal areas that buyers are flocking to

The French property market is the busiest it has been for decades, with coastal properties particularly in demand. France-based real estate agent Joanna Leggett shared three of the biggest hotspots for buyers.

French property hotspots: The coastal areas that buyers are flocking to
Royan, on France's west coast. Photo by XAVIER LEOTY / AFP
We haven’t seen anything like it in well over 20 years of selling French property. Our agents are working flat out to field enquiries from both domestic buyers and those from the UK and beyond.

It’s not just us though – the Notaires de France tell us that there have been almost 1.2 m sales across the country in the last 12 months. To put this into context we’d normally expect this figure to be around the 900,000 mark. 

READ ALSO 5 of the most affordable places to buy property in France

So why is French property so popular? 

Well, obviously the sunshine, food and drink, stunning landscapes, and quality of life play a big part. But these are ever-present. What’s really different at the moment is: 

  • a post-pandemic urge to buy country property that is light and airy, with access to outside space and fresh air. 

  • cheap finance – mortgage rates have been at historically low levels (although rising now).  

  • value for money – property prices in Paris, London and other European cities have risen steadily, whilst country property in France has lagged behind. This means it is great value by comparison. 

There has been plenty of research, undertaken since the Covid lockdowns, that shows a clear shift in buyer need.

One report (undertaken by UBS Wealth Management) said that 75 percent of people polled anticipated permanent lifestyle shifts, including less time spent in the office.

READ ALSO How to get rid of squatters from your French property

This anticipation is turning into reality as buyers look for second homes that have a good-sized home office – the most sought-after properties have high speed internet (preferably fibre) and a home office with a view.

Hotspots 

Pretty much all properties on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts are in great demand. However, we have identified three hot-spots where buyers, from both France and overseas, are fighting over the few properties that are coming on to the market. 

Bay de Morlaix in Brittany is the perfect location for a holiday home and is particularly popular with buyers from Paris and the UK. The sandy beaches and sheltered coastline make it perfect for family holidays. 

Morlaix itself is famous for its unique architecture, with pretty, timbered, houses that were built for the wealthy linen traders. Carantec is another popular location, and you will pay an average of €2,500 euros per square metre there, which makes it great value as a holiday-home retreat. 

Second home owners: What can you bring to your French property?

Royan and surrounding resorts in Charente-Maritime are also hugely popular at the moment.

They are close to the airport in La Rochelle which has flights from European cities including London, Manchester, Bristol, and Dublin. The microclimate in this area makes it the second sunniest part of France and the beaches are sandy and safe, with a choice of wonderful seafood restaurants on hand.

The average cost of an apartment in Royan is €3,490 per square metre, move inland to neighbouring Charente and prices are even lower. 

Cote d’Azur – the Mediterranean cost is ever popular, but the Leggett office in Nice is seeing a daily influx of both local and international buyers.

It is best summed up by Dan Norris, who runs our team in the area: “The market is on fire at every price level. It is dominated by local buyers and you need to move quickly. Properties are selling within hours of coming on the market, this is the craziest I have ever seen it“.

Prices are higher of course, with an apartment in Nice costing an average of €4,240 per square metre. Head up into the hills and you get views out over the Mediterranean, but fewer crowds and lower prices. 

Joanna Leggett is Marketing Director of Leggett Immobilier, the leading international estate agency in France, www.leggettfrance.com 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

LIVING IN FRANCE

MAP: The 20 cheapest French towns and cities to live in

The cost of living is a hot topic in France and across Europe right now - so where are the cheapest places to live?

MAP: The 20 cheapest French towns and cities to live in

At a time when purchasing power has never been so central to French people’s concerns, French daily Le Parisien has compiled a list of towns and cities where your money will go the furthest.

In order to produce this ranking, Le Parisien compiled the average salary in each location and then looked at the price of the average supermarket shop, the cost of transport (fuel as well as public transport), property prices (to buy or rent), property tax rates and the cost of a cinema ticket. 

READ ALSO Food, fuel and transport: Which prices will rise in France in 2023?

And it turns out smaller is better.

Of the 96 towns and cities tested, Niort, in the département of Deux-Sèvres in south west France (population around 60,000) came top,

Laval, in Mayenne (population around 50,000) was third; Saint-Brieuc, in the Brittany département of Côtes-d’Armor (population around 45,000), was 8th, and Rodez, down in the southern département of Aveyron (pop: c 25,000) was 10th.

The 20 most wallet-friendly towns in France are:

  1. Niort
  2. Châteauroux
  3. Laval
  4. Nevers
  5. Belfort
  6. Chaumont
  7. Épinal
  8. Saint-Brieuc
  9. Saint-Étienne
  10. Rodez
  11. Châlons-en-Champagne
  12. Quimper
  13. Arras
  14. Foix
  15. Poitiers
  16. Le Mans
  17. Colmar
  18. Montauban
  19. Bourg-en-Bresse
  20. Nantes

READ ALSO The 20 small towns most popular with house-hunters in France

Niort gains, the study found, in part because it has offered free local public transport since 2017 - a policy that other towns that rank well also implement, including second-placed Châteauroux (Indre), Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain, 24th) and Gap (Hautes-Alpes, 63rd).

For various reasons, including infrastructure, offering free public transport that meets higher levels of demand in larger cities is unviable, the report said. 

In fact, France’s larger cities are noticeably low in Le Parisien’s rankings. Lyon stumbled on to the list in 58th, Paris in 77th, Marseille 84th, and Montpellier 90th. Nantes, coming in 20th, is the only ‘large city’ representative in the top 20.

READ ALSO Wild boar, fast internet and kindly neighbours – why small-town France has the best of all worlds

The report stated that, despite salaries being little higher than average in larger conurbations, people also pay more for shopping, public transport, movie tickets, and housing.

The survey found that, on the whole, your euro goes further in the west of the country - where supermarkets are cheaper, and towns aren’t too congested, while the cost of a tank of fuel is lower, as are - researchers discovered - the more abstract costs, such as insurance, for the same level of service as elsewhere.

READ ALSO OPINION: An inflation ‘tsunami’ is about to hit France

Eastern France, the study found, benefited from relatively cheap property prices - offering more bang for a house-buying buck than the expensive ‘coastal bounce’-affected south or the Ile-de-France region, which orbits the cost-of-living singularity that is Paris.

SHOW COMMENTS