Purchasing a newly constructed home in France offers many advantages to investors: low mortgage rates, no agency fees, low legal fees, exemption from property taxes for the first two years and a government mandated 10 year warranty from the developer. Combined with France’s many cultural and quality of living amenities, buying a newly constructed residential property in the country has many intangible and financial benefits. See the following article from International Living for more on this.
The hardest thing about owning a home in France is leaving it. From the moment I looked through a viewfinder at the age of eight and saw slides of rolling French landscapes, I’ve been hooked. But it wasn’t until 2004 that my lifelong dream of owning a place in France became reality.
When I tell people, at first they think I’ve purchased an ancient, dilapidated country shack that will cost thousands of dollars to refurbish, or that I must have received a big inheritance. But nothing could be further from the truth.
For just $90,000 I got my own vacation home nestled in the south of France.
Better yet, I not only cover my expenses by renting it when I’m not there…I actually make a profit!
My house is a newly-built two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath, semi-detached villa, with a fenced garden and a shared pool in a gated community. It’s located in the quaint village of Loriol-du-Comtat.
I bought it pre-construction and all the transactions were handled in English, electronically and by post.
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I’m in the perfect location, at the foot of Mount Ventoux and near some of the most picturesque perched villages in France—Gordes, Roussillon, and Bonnieux—just minutes from the historic and vibrant city of Avignon.
Situated amidst fertile agricultural plains, Loriol-du-Comtat is typical of most Provençal villages. The main square is the site of a Sunday market offering locally grown produce and crafts. A café, bakery, grocer, hair stylist, flower shop, postal office, and boulodrome (place to play boules) surround the square that leads to beautifully manicured gardens upon which the Mairie (Mayor’s office) rests.
If I ever tire of village life, I can take the car on the autoroute (highway) to Nice, Monte Carlo, Genoa, Marseilles, and the Mediterranean beaches of St. Tropez and Cassis. And Paris, the Alps and Barcelona are only a few hours away by train.
The mild weather means a multitude of activities year-round. The world-renowned film, theater, opera and music festivals of Aix-en-Provence, Orange and Avignon attract thousands of visitors, and I enjoy the antique markets of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
My taste buds are never happier than here. The rich soil of the region produces the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the black truffles of Carpentras, the lavender fields of Apt and the melons of Cavaillon.
The benefits of a newly-built property are numerous. Properties are constructed according to strict French building and energy saving regulations; property taxes—usually a mere fraction of those in the U.S.—are exempt for the first two years after closing.
The legal fees are half those charged for an existing residence and rarely exceed 3% of the purchase price. There is no agency fee; all purchase contracts are regulated by French law; the initial, fully-refundable deposit is only 5% of the purchase price; and importantly, French law requires the developer to provide a 10-year warranty on all newly-built residential structures.
During the past few years, France has experienced a high demand for new properties. As an example, a couple of villas comparable to mine have recently sold for over $300,000. In just five years my home has more than tripled in value!
Mortgage rates are also at an all-time low, and mortgages for 100% of the purchase price are available through various French banks. Since I purchased my home outright, my annual household expenses average $3,500. They include electricity, insurance, association fee (including water), property taxes, telephone, cable, Internet and a gardener.
My expenses, however, are easily recovered by renting the property short-term to vacationers from Paris, Belgium, England, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.S. Fortunately, most of my rentals have been generated by word of mouth from my neighbors, one of whom maintains the house and meets the guests upon arrival.
Although my professional responsibilities keep me in the U.S. for now, owning a place in France has given birth to a new dream: making France my permanent home. There is no greater delight than walking up the steps to my own petit château (little castle), welcomed by the fragrance of the lavender and rose bushes surrounding the garden. Each day brings a new adventure.
Soon I’ll be forever awed by vistas of France…and it won’t be through a viewfinder.
This article has been republished from International Living.