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Brittany (Bretagne) - Buying Property
The inland areas are largely unpopulated and have only just started to become more popular with people looking to buy second homes. The population in Brittany is just under 3 million people and the Breton language is still widely used. The people of Brittany still see themselves as separate from France as the region of Brittany was only united with France around 500 years ago.
Brittany is popular with both expats and holiday makers from the UK as it is close enough to make travel back and to fairly easy. There are 4 departments in Brittany, Cotes-d’Armor, Finistere, Ille-et-Vilaine and Morbihan, each has individual and unique features but all as beautiful as each other.
The Breton way of life is what attracts most people to the area. There are many rural spots for those who enjoy or wish to have a country lifestyle and there are thriving commercial areas such as Nantes and Rennes for those who enjoy city life, or who still need to work after relocating to the area.
Brittany has always proved attractive to the expat buyer due to the low house prices, and these are some of the lowest in France. They are far below the national average and it remains a region where there are many property bargains to be found.
The department of Cotes-d’Armor is located on the north coast of Brittany and was one of the original departments created during the French Revolution, although prior to 1990 it was known as Cotes-du-Nord. Average house prices in the area were €156,000 in 2009 for an average family sized home. One of the main towns is Dinan, a river port located on the banks of the River Rance. It is a very old town surrounded by trees and parkland. Property prices in the town are not much higher than the department average but will vary according to the district.
The area always has a large number of properties on the market, which include both those that are ready to move into and renovation projects. Property in good condition starts on average around €60,000 and goes up to €100,000 depending on which facilities and features the property has. Moving closer to the city means property prices are at a premium and many coastal properties are also much higher.
The department of Finistere is the most western point in France and is a popular place for summer festivals. House prices in the area averaged around €164,000 in 2009. The largest main town is Brest, although this is not the area capital. House prices in the area are extremely reasonable due to the fact that most of the area was destroyed in the war and so not much of the original architecture remains after the subsequent rebuild. Those looking for properties with original features may be disappointed.
Prices for property in good condition can range from €50,000 upwards and prices for homes requiring complete renovation can start from as little as €22,000. Again, location of the property can affect the price, and smaller properties nearer the coast can cost more than larger properties in more rural areas.
The Ille-et-Vilaine department is another of the departments created during the French Revolution. It is the most eastern of the four departments of Brittany and attracts visitors due to its coastal scenery. The average house price in Ille-et-Vilaine was the highest of all the Brittany departments at €204,000 in 2009.
There are many old farmhouses and stone built buildings on offer in this area for those who are looking for an authentic French country feel. Restored or ready to move into homes have an average asking price of around €100,000. Renovation projects and complete ruins are also available for those looking for a property to put their own stamp on, and they start from around €15,000 depending on the amount of land that comes with the property and the amount of work that needs to be undertaken.
The department of Morbihan is the most southern of the 4 Brittany departments, and is packed full of medieval towns and megaliths. People are drawn to the area for its seaside towns and fine restaurants. The average price for property was €191,000 in 2009, but renovation projects can be snapped up as cheaply as €13,500 as long as the buyer is prepared to do a lot of work on it. For those looking for something that needs a little less work then prices start from around €50,000 and ready to move in properties can be snapped up for about €80,000 depending on features and facilities. Higher end properties with swimming pools are also available and prices for these homes have an average starting price of €200,000.
The main towns all across the region have apartments for sale but usually at a premium price due to location. Modern apartments in the city centres have average prices of around €120,000 to purchase while those needing work or in slightly less desirable areas will decrease in price accordingly. However, apartments are in a fairly small proportion of properties when compared with other regions.
Farmhouses are one of the main types of property available in Brittany and they range from the old fashioned half timbered house to the stone built properties. Many of the renovation projects in the area are farmhouses, though there are many that have already been refurbished to a high standard. Some farmhouses in the area are the ‘longère’ type which will have outbuildings and at the very least, a large garden, if not a good sized parcel of land.
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