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BUYING PROPERTY IN FRANCE
Location, location, location. That's the watchword for property investment in France.
France is a large country, much larger than the UK, and each of the 95 departments has an individual character. Only about a fifth of these are attractive for foreign investment or residence: and of these over 80% of investment property purchases are in just 4!
Prices are still relatively low compared to most North European countries, the climate is superb and the quality of life is very high. Health, education, culture, history, tradition, food, safety and "the quality of life" are thought by many to be the best in the world. But in a land with so much to offer where do you buy?
The Cote d'Azur and Languedoc in the south of France are both seen excellent investment areas, with prices currently rising ten to 15 per cent a year.
Cannes is of course regarded as the location to buy on the Cote d'Azur, with regular conferences and the famous film festival both leading to stronger rental demand than anywhere else in the south of France.
Traditional tourist locations like Paris and the Alps are also seeing heavy house price growth.
In 2002 over 80,000 properties were sold to non-French buyers, the highest number ever. This is not a new phenomenon, the British, Dutch, Germans and Scandinavians have been buying property in France for many years, but this has generally been a rather exclusive "club".
However, with many other investments not performing as well as expected, pensions becoming devalued and the rapid rises in property prices in other countries, much faster than in France, a lot of capital and disposable income seems attracted to French property (plus you get sunshine and good wine!).
These are not now just second homes, many are people unable to afford a house in their own country who buy a property in France, not to live in full time, but to visit and rent out for most of the year (if possible).