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Is Ski Property A Good Investment

Is Ski Property A Good Investment

March 28, 2014 in Blog, French Property News by

Ski Property

Over recent years the popularity of skiing and snowboarding holidays has skyrocketed. An Alpine winter sports getaway has become one of the most desired products that travel and leisure companies have to offer. The world-class ski resorts located in the French Alps attract millions of tourists every ski season. The main attraction is reliable snowfall above 1600 metres, which makes the Alpine slopes into the perfect playground of pistes for all levels of skier or snowboarder. Add to this the lively après ski, gourmet cuisine, rich French culture, charming chocolate-box villages, stunning scenery and activities for all the family – and it is easy to see why France holds the top spot in the hearts of skiing enthusiasts around the world.

Investment returns

Each year more savvy investors are realising the incredible rental potential that exists in owning Alpine property. With such large numbers of tourist flocking to the region every winter, and more adventurous souls returning to experience their favourite Alpine resorts during summer months every year, the demand for short-term rental accommodation is huge. Purchasing a ski chalet in a popular resort, as a second home or a rental investment, could turn out to be the best thing you ever did.

Ski Property Types

The style and size of properties available in the French Alps is diverse. If you are looking to purchase a second home for your own use, you must take into consideration a variety of factors. The most important thing is to visit any resorts in which you are considering purchasing property both on and off-season. The liveliest of winter resorts can become ghost towns in summer months, and while you may enjoy the peace and tranquillity this offers, it may also mean that availability of goods and services is scarce. Once you have decided on a location, you also need to think about what you want form a property. Are you drawn to traditional wooden chalets or ultra-modern apartments? Will this be a family home, or a romantic rendezvous for you and a loved one? Make sure that the property you purchase provides all the space and facilities that you are likely to require.

Ski Property Investment

If you are planning to purchase an investment property that you do not wish to make personal use of, such considerations are even more important. You need to be aware of who you are marketing to and what needs they will have. Location, proximity to ski lifts, après ski, other activities on offer, and life during summer will all play a big part in determining the suitability of a property or resort for different sectors of the rental market, as well as the size and style. You also need to consider how the property will be furnished, what comforts and services will be provided for guests, and how the property will be managed. Luxury ski chalets should be richly furnished and fully managed by an experienced company. Guests will expect all the little extras to be provided, as well as services such as chauffeurs, chefs and even masseuse. On the other hand, smaller ski apartments tend to be very basic and rented on a self-catering basis.

The best place to start is by consulting a trusted buying agent. They will be able to determine the best areas and properties to suit your business plan. They will also likely have a network of contacts including professional reputable management companies. Finding a good buying agent who is fluent in both French and English can make the purchase of investment ski property a smooth and simple process.

 

Why Buy Property In Chamonix

Why Buy Property In Chamonix

March 27, 2014 in Blog, French Property News by

Chamonix Property

The Chamonix Valley covers an area from stretching from Servoz to Barberine on the French-Swiss border. The region’s main towns are Chamonix, Les Praz, Les Bossons, Les Houches, Argentiere, Vallorcine and Mont Roc / Le Tour. Rather than being a purpose-built ski resort, Chamoix is a town with a long history, which over the years became known as a world capital for mountaineering. As the popularity of skiing increased, ski enthusiasts realised the potential of the surrounding peaks, and the town developed naturally into the world-renowned ski resort it is today. Today, ski tourists can enjoy access to the ski areas of the Chamonix Vallée, Courmayeur and Verbier with the Unlimited ski pass.

Chamonix has one of the longest histories of any Alpine resort. Home to Mont Blanc, it first became a hub for mountaineering enthusiasts back in 1760 when a Genevois scientist offered a prize to the first person who could ascend to the summit of this, the tallest peak in Europe. The popularity of the region grew, and in 1924, it hosted the first Winter Olympics. It is where all professional ski instructors and mountain guides go to qualify, and ‘Le Grande Ski’ features high on the bucket list of any dedicated skier or snowboarder. Contrary to popular myth, you do not have to be an expert to enjoy what the area has to offer – and vast numbers of ski tourists at all levels of ability flock to Chamonix every winter. For property investors with a taste for adventure – Chamonix has huge potential.

With the resort itself is situated at 1035m meters and the top lift reaching a staggering 3842m, Chamonix has a long snowy season, reaching well into April. It is also the only Alpine resort to remain open all year round, with its popularity actually increasing in summer. The permanent population of Chamoix is around 10,000, but this increases to 30,000 during winter months and an incredible 80,000 in summer. Investors can expect a minimum of 15 weeks occupancy every year, with many of the most luxurious properties being booked solid through both seasons.

Despite assertions to the contrary, Chamonix has a lot to offer novice skiers and snowboarders; you do not have to be an expert to make the most of its pistes. At the foot of the main lifts, there is a comprehensive beginners area for those completely new to the sport. The ski area also incorporates plenty of long relaxed blues and reds for skiers and snowboarders at intermediate levels to cruise down.

During the summer, the area opens up to adventure seekers with all manner of skills and interests. Some of the activities that can be enjoyed include climbing, canyoning and mountaineering, mountain biking, road biking, horse riding and white-water rafting. For members of the family with tamer tastes, there is a wealth of leisure activities such as golf and tennis on offer, and even instructional courses in French cooking or language to try your hand at.

After a long day spent conquering the peaks or mastering some tricky verb conjugations, the vibrant Chamonix nightlife provides the perfect way to unwind. The town is full of chic wine bars, nightclubs, live music venues that will keep the party animals going all night – while the more family orientated can enjoy spending time in traditional French cafes, gourmet restaurants, the bowling alley, pool hall, or cinema. Chamonix also plays host to a great number of exciting sporting events and Cosmojazz jazz festival every year. The resort town can be easily accessed by the motorway from Geneva, Chambery, Grenoble or Lyon airports, as well as by train.

The Pros and Cons Of Ski Property Investment

The Pros and Cons Of Ski Property Investment

March 27, 2014 in Blog, French Property News by

Ski Property Investment

The popularity of French Alpine ski chalets as investment properties has steadily risen over the last few years and the trend looks set to continue. As a second home, a luxury chalet in a popular resort provides the perfect base from which to enjoy all that the pistes have to offer when the snow turns them into a winter wonderland, as well as activities such as hiking, climbing, kayaking, and paragliding in warmer summer months. The fresh mountain air, stunning scenery, and relaxed pace of life mean that a week away in your Alpine chalet is sure to leave you refreshed.

Ski property also makes an excellent business investment. Whether purchased by a company for use of employees, or simply as a holiday rental – you can see great returns in more than money. As a company let, a ski chalet provides an opulent environment to woo clients and hold important meetings. It can also be used to reward employees and for team building activities. If purchased as part of an investment portfolio that relies on rental income, large yields of over 5% can be expected – with excellent occupancy rates over winter months. To help you make the most of a ski property investment we’ve laid out the pros and cons in an easily comprehensible format.

Pros:

The French property market is currently a buyer’s market. Purchase prices and mortgage rates are both low, and motivated sellers are likely to accept offers. Outside of the French Riviera and Paris, the Haute-Savoie in the French Alps is one of the biggest property hotspots – and prices here remain much lower than in these other prestigious areas.

While purchase prices are low, there is still incredible demand for rental properties, particularly throughout the annual ski season. More ski tourists flock to the region each year, looking for quality temporary accommodation. The demand drives up rental prices, meaning an excellent yield can be expected. Many resorts are also now remaining popular year round, meaning that occupancy rates are good and set to improve.

Owning a ski property investment means that you get to make use of it. Whether for business or pleasure, time spent in the Alps is invigorating and satisfying. A week spent skiing, snowboarding, hiking or even just enjoying the scenery from the golf course could do you the world of good – and the chance to take a refreshing break is yours whenever you want it.

Cons:

Ski property as a second home does not always suit everyone. If you are elderly, inactive or have a young family, some resorts are simply not going to provide opportunities for you to enjoy your time away. This does not mean that you cannot take advantage of ski property as an investment; it just means that you need to give careful consideration to the location. Many larger resorts and towns, such as Chamonix, have a lot to offer children and non-skiers. Alternatively, you can maximise rental potential by simply opting not to use the property for personal recreation – take the rental income and buy yourself a week in the summer sun instead!

The income generated by ski investment property is dependent on a number of factors each year. Occupancy rates may dwindle in summer months if the resort closes or offers few activities. For property based at lower altitudes, inconsistent snowfall can also pose a problem. If temperatures remain too high, less snow coverage can lead to significantly reduced numbers of tourists. You will need a flexible business plan to ensure that you make the most of your investment in all seasons and circumstances.

Buying Off Plan Property In France

Buying Off Plan Property In France

March 25, 2014 in Blog, French Property News by

Off Plan Property France

Buying any property is a big decision that requires careful consideration. Buying French property is often a lengthy process with a great many more things to take into account, and buying off plan property France can be even more complex. Every purchase entails necessary and thorough due diligence to be carried out by the investor. Before signing the contract you must be certain that you fully understand all the legal implications and that there are no objectionable clauses. Hire a solicitor who is both an expert in French property law and a fluent French speaker to ensure full comprehension. Seek advice from your solicitor and estate agent, and never allow yourself to be pressured into signing before you are ready.

Difference between buying off plan property in France compared to the UK

In UK conveyancing, you can sign a contract in readiness that does not become a legally binding agreement until exchange. This is not the case in France. On signing a Contract de Reservation, you become fully legally committed to the purchase after 7 day cooling off period. This is why it is so important to ensure that you are completely happy with the terms before applying your signature to the document. An off-plan contract is known as a vente en état future d’ achievement (VEFA). The clauses contained in VEFAs differ to those set out in normal Contract de Reservations, but the legal commitment remains the same.

Amount Of Money For Deposits

On signing the VEFA, you will be required to pay an initial deposit upfront to the developer. On off plan property France that will be completed within 12 months, this deposit is capped at 5%, whereas on developments that will take more than a year to complete it is capped at 2%. The amount of the deposit is set at the developer’s discretion.

The deposit paid should be held either by the solicitor involved in the purchase or by the developer in a bank account set up in your name until the legal title to the property is transferred into your name. This is a legal requirement and should be stipulated in the contract. It is important to ensure that this clause is in the contract, in order to avoid any later disputes. If developers fail to comply, they will be punished by law – either receiving a fine or being sentenced to a term of imprisonment. However, this does not necessarily mean that you will get your deposit returned.

Contracts

The contract should further stipulate that you are entitled to request the return of your deposit if you are unable to obtain a mortgage offer, or if the developer fails to complete the build within the agreed timescale.

The VEFA commits you to purchasing the property at a later agreed date. This is the date that the legal title of the property is transferred into your name, which is not when the building works are completed, but when the property becomes available for occupation.

In the UK system, a developer must own the legal title to the land they are developing before a contract can be issued, but this is not the case with VEFAs. The developer can issue a VEFA for land that they do not currently own in anticipation of becoming the landowner. The VEFA will specify a date of transfer, and if the legal title has not passed to the developer by this time, they will be able to withdraw from the contract providing that your deposit is returned to you within a 3 month period.

Why Buy Villas In The French Riviera

Why Buy Villas In The French Riviera

March 24, 2014 in Blog, French Property News by

French Riviera Villas

One of the finest locations in which to enjoy a stylish and chic holiday is the Cote d’Azure on the French Mediterranean coast. The French Riviera is a Mecca for anyone who enjoys a champagne lifestyle. The region has long been the winter sun resort of choice for successful businessmen and European aristocracy – and the deep blue waters of its harbours are always lined with yachts. The cosmopolitan city centres and flashy waterfront locations are wonderfully set off by the juxtaposition of the picturesque villages, charming medieval towns, rustic vineyards and stunning countryside locales that surround them. Many people visitors to the area fall in love with the romance it exudes, and they never want to leave. Villas in the French Riviera are among the most popular investments of foreign property buyers. This historic trend looks set to continue well into the future, and for good reason.

Luxury hotels and resorts abound in this classy area, with a multitude of stylish temporary accommodation available to visitors. For a real sense of sophistication, opulence and grandeur though, nothing can beat taking a break in your own luxury French Riviera villa. This may seem likely a widely expensive dream or an indulgence too far, but the reality of owning you own luxury villa in the Cote d’Azure may be more cost-effective that you realise. When you are not using the property, it can be let out – and with rental yields in the area averaging 5%, you stand to see a significant return in terms of rental income straight away. There is no destination more popular with Europe’s elite, and with such demand, occupancy rates are almost guaranteed to be high.

Your villa will be your haven when you visit. Most have a private pool, tennis courts, and landscaped gardens, all situated a few minutes’ walk from sandy beaches and leisure facilities such as golf-courses. There will be nothing to do but relax. The majority of villas are rented out when the owners are away, so the area is home to many professional property management companies. These companies not only take care of maintaining the villa and its grounds, but they also manage lettings and provide chauffeurs, gourmet chefs, housekeepers and security staff. You will be able to enjoy the use of these services on your vacation.

The French Riviera provides a wide choice of luxury property. If a waterfront villa does not take your fancy, you can find chateaux and bastides resting in grandeur in the surrounding countryside, or townhouses and modern apartments lining the bustling streets of a cosmopolitan city centre. Whatever you are looking for, you can be sure you will find you perfect property somewhere in the French Riviera. The best place to start your search is contacting a buyer’s agent who specialises in French Riviera villas. Any agency that is well established in the area will have a portfolio of properties available for sale. If they don’t have what you are looking for on their books, they will certainly have the contacts and experience to find it for you.

Reasonably Priced Ski Chalets Off The Beaten Track

Reasonably Priced Ski Chalets Off The Beaten Track

March 24, 2014 in Blog, French Property News by

Reasonably Priced Ski Chalets

Many people are moving away from the idea of place in the sun to find their perfect place in the snow. Luxury ski chalets have never before enjoyed such popularity among foreign investors. One of the most lucrative markets for ski property is the Haute-Savoie region of the Alps. Located on the border between France and Switzerland, with excellent transport links to Geneva, this region is home to some of the world’s best loved ski resorts.

As any savvy investor will know, you pay a premium for property located in popular tourist destinations and fashionable ski resorts. Haute-Savoie has a wealth of world-class resorts that see investors splashing out top dollar to purchase luxury chalets in their vicinity. However, the area has much more to offer if you know where to look. Property in resorts with lower profiles can still offer a great deal to investors and tourists alike. Vallandry and Saint Francoise Longchamp are two such resorts that offer reasonably priced ski chalets for sale.

Vallandry

Part of the Peisey-Vallandry collection of villages, the pretty village of Vallandry has a lot to offer in both winter and summer months. While it is less well-known than some of the larger, purpose-built resorts in the region, such as Les Arcs and Le Plange, it is certainly worth a look if you are in the market for ski property.

The village is set within the vast Paradiski region of the French Alps and has good links to other villages, as well as to Les Arcs and Le Plagne. It is a great base for anyone to enjoy all that both resorts have to offer, while being based in a location with a much more relaxed and tranquil atmosphere. At 1600m, the ski area is at a great height for reliable snow conditions throughout winter months, and in the summer visitors to the area can enjoy spectacular views while hiking in the stunning Alpine location.

Property in Vallandry is cheaper than in the larger more fashionable resorts, with luxury chalets priced as reasonably as €450,000. Despite current economic conditions, property in the area continues to sell and rent well, and there is growing demand from both international investor and holiday makers.

Saint Francoise Longchamp

Another fantastic location for ski property without the premium is the picturesque, chocolate-box village of Saint Francoise Longchamp. The village is part of Le Grand Domaine, together with Valmorel. Situated above 1650m, chalets in the village enjoy access directly onto the slopes, and snowfall is as good as guaranteed. Reasonably priced ski chalets in the area are €449,000, while apartments can be scooped up for as little as €210,000. The area is popular with tourists who enjoy taking part in various mountain sports the year around. Many visitors to the area are attracted to the traditional charm that the village exudes.

Why Choose The French Riviera To Buy Property In

Why Choose The French Riviera To Buy Property In

March 24, 2014 in Blog, French Property News by

French Riviera Property

France as a whole has some very attractive points to offer British investors. Top of the list is its convenient location and excellent transport links with the UK, as well as with the rest of mainland Europe. Investors looking for a second home or holiday rental can benefit from France’s proximity to the UK as much as people who relocate or retire to France leaving behind family and friends at home.

The varied climate is another huge attraction, with different French regions representing the ideal location for many popular activities, whether these require sun, snow, sea or mountains. Tourists flock to France every year in greater numbers than anywhere else in the world, largely due to the wealth of opportunities offered by the diverse landscape and varied climate. Prices of French property are currently low, meaning there is great potential for long-term capital growth. There are exceptional tax benefits to be had on capital gains, and the purchase of property is well protected by the French legal system for both foreign and national buyers. All this stands to make French property a great prospect for long-term investment. The Cote d’Azure on France’s south coast represents one of the finest investment opportunities in the world. There are innumerable advantages to purchasing investment property in this, the French Riviera.

The south of France has long been a playground for Europe’s elite, particularly popular for its pleasant climate throughout winter months. Due to its popularity, the market in the region has historically been strong and stable. Every economic factor indicates that this trend is set to continue long into the future.

The area is home to long swathes of white sandy beaches that give way to deep, sparkling blue seas. Further inland you will find stunning Provencal countryside, dotted with rustic vineyards and lavender fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. The geographical diversity of the area, combined with the many natural and cultural attractions, make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in France.

In the cities there is chic sophistication and a very cosmopolitan atmosphere, thanks to the diversity of nationalities that visit or make their homes there. This is wonderfully complemented by the charm and culture that abounds in the surrounding, beautiful rural villages.

As you might expect, the region’s attractiveness to tourists and expatriates gives rise to a lucrative rental market, and investors can expect to enjoy rental yields in excess of 5% on luxury French Riviera property. Property prices in the south of France are higher than in northern or inland areas, but the market is more stable and greater capital gains can be expected. The area’s infrastructure is modern and well set out, linking the French Riviera easily to the rest of mainland Europe. Flights can be bought cheaply from UK airports, so vacationing at your property or spending time with your family back home need never be an issue.

While prices in the Cote d’Azure are higher than elsewhere in the country, French mortgages can help make purchasing property in the region more affordable, with lenders currently offering extremely low rates.

Whatever the reason you are looking for property abroad – whether you are in the market for a second home or looking to relocate on a permanent basis – French Riviera property ticks every box as a fantastic destination.

Overview of Buying French Property

Overview of Buying French Property

March 23, 2014 in Blog, French Property News by

Buying French Property

France is truly a country with something to offer every buyer in terms of thriving tourist hotspots, luxurious destinations for relocation, and quite safe havens for retirement. France is home to bustling metropolitan cities, rolling green countryside, palm-fringed coastal paradises, and winter Alpine playgrounds. Many visitors find themselves bewitched by the beauty and culture into which they are immersed on a trip to France, and owning a luxury chateau or chalet has become the ultimate ambition of many aspiring entrepreneurs or retiring business tycoons. If you are looking to purchase French property for the first time, the notion of buying abroad may seem daunting thanks to the language barrier and the differences in procedure. The process of buying French property is straightforward, and the French legal system offers adequate protection whether you are a foreign or national buyer. However, there are significant differences between the UK and French conveyancing processes, so it is useful to brush up on your knowledge of what to expect before undertaking the investment.

Language

You may have a firm enough grasp of the French language to successfully order food in restaurants, or even to hold an extended conversation with a French local. However, it is worth considering whether your level of fluency will allow you to fully understand the ins and outs involved in purchasing French real estate. Be realistic about your limitations. A misunderstanding could cause you to overlook significant costs, conditions, or responsibilities. A French translator can be appointed to ensure that nothing is missed. Otherwise, hiring a bi-lingual estate agent can help. When appointing a solicitor in the UK, make sure that you choose one who not only has knowledge of the language, but also of the French legal process for purchasing property.

Notaires

The notary or notaire is the most important person involved in the purchase of French property. These are publicly appointed officials tasked with authenticating all documentation related to real estate transaction, as well as holding funds in escrow. It is unwise to sign any papers or hand over any money unless a notaire is present. Do not give in to pressure from an estate agent or seller to do so. The notaire both officiates and advises on the purchase. While they are unable to carry out research on your behalf, they can provide valuable advice on any queries that you own due diligence turns up.   French mortgages

If you are buying French property with a mortgage, it is worth considering taking out a French mortgage for value. Mortgage rates in France are traditionally lower than in the UK, and in the current economic climate, they have dropped as low as 2%. There are also additional tax benefits associated with French mortgages. Add to this the fact that French mortgages are not affected by fluctuations in the exchange rate, and they could work out to be both a considerably cheaper and more secure form of funding than an overseas mortgage from a UK lender. When purchasing with a mortgage in France, it is important to ensure that relevant clauses are added to the contract when the offer is made. You only have 7 days from the acceptance of your offer in which you can pull out of a purchase, before contracts become legally binding. If he purchase relies on a mortgage, a clause must be added stating that the purchase is subject to a mortgage offer being obtained and detailing specifics of this.

The Best Places To Find Cheap French Property For Sale

The Best Places To Find Cheap French Property For Sale

March 23, 2014 in Blog, French Property News by

Cheap French Property

With French property prices at an all-time low and mortgage rates dipping as far as 2.4% – there has never been a better time to invest in a luxury second home abroad. Year on year, France remains a popular destination amongst British property buyers, for good reason. The transport links are fantastic, allowing second homes to be accessed easily and inexpensively. The climate in many parts of the country is extremely agreeable throughout most of the year. And despite the influx of British expats, the French culture thrives. The most popular destination for luxury second homes is consistently the Cote d’Azure. However, even in these turbulent economic times, prices in the region remain high. Whilst this represents a level of stability that may attract many investors, for those looking to pick up a good deal on a luxury abode, it is worth considering property in some other fantastic locations that have a lot to offer.

Basque country

In the minds of most British investors “Basque country” conjures up images the cosmopolitan town of Barritz, with its chic art deco architecture and bourgeois lifestyle. Beyond this, though, lies an almost undiscovered landscape of Atlantic coastline fringed with palm trees, towering mountain peaks, lush green countryside, thick wooded forests, and rushing rivers. The unspoilt surroundings are home to a very agreeable year-round climate that sees winter temperatures rarely dropping below 6̊ C.

Property on the coastline commands higher prices, but only half an hour inland investors will discover farmhouses with large areas of land at prices as low as €550,000 fully habitable, or €300,000 in need of work. This kind of property was traditionally used to house both family and livestock, so renovated Basque farmsteads provide incredible amounts of living space. Relatively near to the Atlantic coast, villages such as Ascain, Sare and Esplette provide attractive options for investors that want to find cheap French property for sale. If you are looking to renovate the property yourself, be careful to factor in the costs involved as materials and labour in this region can cost a lot.

The region can be reached by low-cost flights to Biarritz or Pau and good motorway access.

Lozere

Lozere is the only land-locked department of the five that make up the Languedoc-Roussillon region down on the Mediterranean coast. Perhaps due to its lacking a coastline, the hilly Lozere region has incredibly low visitor numbers, and British property investment there is insignificant. The quiet, unspoilt, authentically French region was voted the ideal place to retire in the “Best Places to Live in France” survey run by French news magazine L’Express. It boast one of the lowest crime rates in the entire country.

Lozere is ideally suited to investors seeking a quiet, safe base for retirement. And the best news is, property here comes cheap. A two-bedroom long stone property with 1.5 acres of land situated in the Cévennes national park would typically set you back around €242,000, while for twice this price you could spend your retirement rambling around a vast, five-bedroom, renovated farmstead, set in over an acre of grounds, with outbuildings to boot. Prices in Lozere are much lower for comparable properties than in Languedoc’s more popular southern regions of Hérault and Gard, though these can be easily reached by road.

Savoie

For investors looking for Alpine property, there are many affordable ski chalets and apartments available in the Haute-Savoie region in the French Alps. Many properties in the picturesque mountain area have been newly built to meet sky-rocketing demand, and developers regularly offer ski pads on the French leaseback scheme. Buying property on this scheme means a hassle free investment with guaranteed returns.

A promising area for holiday rental property is Bourg St. Maurice, which is the Eurostar ski train terminal for services from London, St Pancras. Connected to the Les Arcs 1600 resort by a funicular train, cheap French property here can be purchased for as little as €122,000.

Investing in French Property And Property Hotspots Of France

Investing in French Property And Property Hotspots Of France

March 23, 2014 in Blog, French Property News by

Investing in French Property

France has long been a popular destination for British property investors looking for holiday rentals, as well buyers looking for a second home or a place to retire. The French climate, culture, language and easy to reach location make it the number one choice for British foreign investment.

French property has great potential as a long-term investment. France has the busiest tourist trade of any country in the world, with the highest number of tourists visiting the country every year. This is great news in terms of occupancy levels for rented or holiday accommodation. The French Leaseback Scheme offers further peace of mind to investors, as it provides a guaranteed return on a hands-off, hassle free investment.

Investment in French property market is definitely a buyers’ market, with property prices and mortgage rates at an all-time low. Benefitting from uncertainty over the economies of other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy, France appears a relatively safe haven for investment. However, in most areas (excepting only Paris) the market is quiet, so buyers can expect motivated sellers to accept reasonable offers.

Property Hotspots France

One of the most up and coming new property hotspots offering investment opportunities in France is the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Property prices here are considerably lower than in the aristocratic playground the Cote d’Azure, while still boasting a stunning plam-fringed Mediterranean coastline. The region is home to Montpellier – a dynamic, modern city with an underlying arty, bohemian culture. A luxury city centre apartment would cost as little as €150,000. For the same price, Langudoc also offers rural cottages set in a landscape of vineyards and lavender fields, reminiscent of über-pricey Provence. One region other region for property hotspots France is the French alps. The supply and demand issue will always be there due to the difficult to build and get planning.

Buying costs

Once an offer on French property is accepted, a contract is drawn up and you only have a seven-day cooling off period before this becomes binding. This differs from UK conveyancing, where the contract is not legally binding until exchange. Property purchases in France are also subject to different costs than in the UK, so these should be taken into consideration before making an off on an investment property.

There can be a great deal of variation in cost depending on who pays the (considerable) estate agent’s fees. In French property purchases, the buyer or the seller can be responsible for covering the cost of estate agent’s fees, and sometimes the expense is shared. Make sure you know how much you will be liable to pay upfront.

On top of estate agent’s fees, the buyer must pay Stamp Duty at around 5%, notaire’s fees of up to 3%, solicitor’s fees of up to 2% and a mortgage fee (where applicable) of around 1%. All this can add a considerable amount to the purchase price, and currency exchange rates and bank charges on transfers need also be taken into account. Using specialist currency firms to transfer your money can usually lead to savings in both respects when compared with the service offered by high street banks.

Capital Gains Tax

The good news for investors is that as of March this year, Capital Gains Tax on the sales of French second homes is being cut. After a period of 22 years ownership, the capital gains made on the sale of a secondary residence will be exempt from Capital Gains Tax, while after only 5 years the rate is significantly reduced. If you are purchasing French property as a long-term investment, this could be beneficial.

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