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Burgundy (Bourgogne) - Buying Property
The region of Burgundy has many castles and a varied and rich history. One notable landmark is the Pontigny Abbey although there are a great many other things for the visitor to see and do. This makes it an ideal investment area, as there is the potential for holiday rental income all year round.
Investors or those looking for retirement property may find the Burgundy region the best place to purchase property due to many places in the area still being fairly undeveloped as far as tourism is concerned.
Burgundy is popular in the summer for its festivals and street art which is enjoyed by the locals and tourists alike. Tourists also enjoy the area for its rich history and beautiful food and wine. The region has a bustling economy and many big name companies operate in the area such as Unilever (known locally as Amora Maille). Cattle farming are also a large industry in the area and there are many wheat and corn fields for use in the cereals market.
Property prices in Burgundy are well below the national average and in 2009 they were selling for around €1744 per square metre. In some areas of Burgundy they are even cheaper still. For expats looking to purchase property, location is one of the most important things to consider, the second is budget. The 4 departments of the Burgundy region all have something special to offer and prices vary accordingly.
The Cote d’Or department is in the north eastern part of the Burgundy region and has a colourful history dating back centuries. It has a very unspoilt feel about it and the landscapes and views are second to none. In terms of surface area it is the fourth largest department through the whole of France. At the beginning of 2009 the average house prices cost €2386 per square metre which is actually the most expensive of all 4 of the Burgundy departments.
With that in mind there are still really cheap properties to be found in Cote d’Or. Chatillon-sur-Seine is a town within the department that has become very important archeologically and house prices were averaging €1068 per square metre at the beginning of 2009. This is less than half of the regional average. This makes it an ideal place for the property investor and good news for those who wish to buy to let, as a reasonable proportion of residents are tenants rather than owners.
The Nievre department had property prices in 2009 that were slightly higher than its neighbouring department of Cote d’Or at €1370 per square metre. This makes larger properties much more affordable and makes the area the perfect base for exploring, as the countryside is dotted with castles and other historical buildings. There are also the vineyards and many a wine tasting opportunity to be found.
Cheaper property can be found in the Nievre region as towns such as Clamecy have average property prices of around €1100 per square metre. Clamecy is a small town with a population of less than 5000. This means demand for homes in the area is low, which helps to keep prices down and guarantees a more tranquil place to live.
The Saône et Loire department is the most populated of all the Burgundy departments as it has around 545,000 inhabitants. It is a very developed area and has excellent transportation links into major cities such as Lyon. This makes it a good place for those who are moving to the area to seek employment or to take up a position already offered.
At the beginning of 2009 property prices in this department were averaging €1616 per square metre, although properties closer to the main towns can be more expensive. More rural areas such as Louhans had an average house price of just €1473 per square metre, due to a lower demand, although the quality of the property available is just as good.
The Yonne department takes its name from the River Yonne that cuts through the department running south to north and has a population of around 345,000 people. It was created after the French revolution in 1789 and was made up of sections of various provinces, such as Burgundy and Champagne. Property prices in Yonne in 2009 were averaging around €1765 per square metre. This is just slightly more than the regional average of €1744 possibly due to the fact this area has a steady agricultural base and is still growing in terms of tourism.
Properties in the various main towns throughout the department vary in price. For example, at the beginning of 2009, property in Auxerre had an average price of €1800 per square metre, making it the most expensive town property wise in the whole department. Cheaper property could be found in Avallon, which is a beautiful medieval town full of history. Property prices here were averaging €1157 per square metre during the same time period.
As with all areas there are bargains to be found, particularly if you are interested in renovating a property. A property that is completely uninhabitable to begin with can often be bought for an extremely low price.
This is a popular region to buy barns and farm houses and renovate them, with many people turning them into gîtes for the rental market. It is the ideal business venture for those expats who wish to move to France and become self employed. Houses such as the half timbered houses are increasingly popular with expat buyers because they offer a taste of traditional French life and it is possible to find some that have been sympathetically renovated, or that need renovating, which still have original features such as fireplaces.
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