Cheap French Property for Sale - are There Any Left?

by : Jeff Seems

Buying a property in France has been an attractive option for some time now, particularly amongst the English but also to a lesser extent the Americans, Dutch, Germans and others. But the influx of foreign buyers has been huge (around 100,000 each year) so have all the bargains been bought up or is there still cheap French property for sale?

The answer you get will depend on who you talk to and where in France you are. Talk to a property agent from anywhere on the south coast and they'll probably tell you that cheap French property is a thing of the past. Talk to a farmer from the centre of the country and he'll tell you the same.

The thing is, it's a question of perspective. The agent probably mostly sees people looking for somewhere with sea views or maybe just a short walk from the beach. That's going to be expensive. Yet friends of mine bought a two bedroom town house not 15 minutes from the south coast at a bargain price just last year. It needs a bit of work but it suits them perfectly.

Same story with the farmer. Ask him if he knows of any cheap French property for sale and he'll shake his head. He remembers when these houses were much cheaper and might blame the influx of foreign buyers for recent rises. Yet if you come from the south east of England, for example, you'll see comparable properties that in the UK would cost you four times as much.

The truth of the matter is that certainly prices for French property have risen far more than just inflation. In some areas houses haven't just doubled or tripled but are many times what they were a decade ago. However, the explosive growth has now stopped and France still offers some great bargains whether you're looking for investment, a holiday home or a permanent move.

If you pick on the so-called hot spots like the Dordogne, Provence or the Alps you'll struggle. These places have always been pricey - even for the French. Anywhere by the sea is a similar story - but that's the same in any country in the world that I can think of!

Go a bit inland though, to the less populated areas, and you'll certainly find bargains. France has been suffering the loss of rural population for years and still is to some extent. The work is in the big towns and cities so that's where many people have moved. If you can work from home, or if you're retiring to France, then you'll find many a picturesque village with very attractive and affordable property.

So if you hear people saying there's no more cheap French property for sale, take it with a pinch of salt. It's not as easy to find as a decade ago, maybe, but there are still bargains to be had. Come over here and look in the local agent's windows, the French agents in the small towns. You'll be amazed what you can find.