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Languedoc-Roussillon - Buying Property
The region has five departments: Hérault, Gard, Aude, Lozère and Pyrénées-Orientales. The region has a population of around 3 million people and also has a high unemployment rate. There are good transport links with other areas by road, air and rail, which has helped to bring people to the area.
As with all regions, there are some areas which are more expensive than others. In 2009 the average apartment costs ranged from €1390 to €2500 per square metre, while average house prices ranged from €124,200 to €230,500, making some parts of the region more affordable than others.
The Aude department is home to towns such as Carcassonne and is a mainly agricultural area of the region, with the landscape ranging from the coast to mountains. The average property price in 2009 was €2346 per square metre and is one of the cheaper departments in the Languedoc-Roussillon. This is around one third cheaper than the national average, so property in the area is a good investment. Towns such as Narbonne are seeing prices rise faster than the rest of the department but the rise is slow in more rural areas, but Carcassonne has actually seen a big drop in prices at around half of the department’s average.
The Gard department is a popular area with tourists and also has miles of coastline as well as some beautiful rural countryside. Gard accounts for 700,000 of the region’s inhabitants and the average property price is €2741 per square metre, which is below the national average but higher than prices in the Aude department. Gard also has a fairly high proportion of new properties on offer. The main city in the area is Nimes, where prices are on a par with the rest of the department.
The Hérault department came into being during the French Revolution and has mountains in the north and coastline to the west. The area is home to towns such as Montpellier, which attracts younger buyers due to its cosmopolitan image. This department is one of the more expensive, with prices in 2009 being only slightly lower than the national average at €3050 per square metre. The towns in the region are more expensive than the rural areas.
The Lozère department takes its name from a local mountain and is a tranquil area. It has a number of national parks and is ideal for those who are looking for a sporty outdoor lifestyle. This department is the cheapest in the region and in the far north of the department the 2009 average property price was just €1300 per square metre, compared to €2500 further south. Prices did slow down with the economic downturn but are gradually recovering.
The Pyrénées-Orientales department has just over 400,000 inhabitants and is home to towns such as Perpignan and Ceret. The landscape consists of mountains and countryside and property prices are among the most expensive in the country but were still a little lower than the national average in 2009 at €2800 per square metre. Those who want to buy a studio flat should be aware that the price per square metre is higher than for a house or apartment with more rooms. Perpignan is a popular place for buy to let properties due to its large student population.
The Languedoc-Roussillon farmhouse is one of the most popular property types in the region. Farming was once the main occupation in the region and there are always many of this type on the market. Those looking for a renovation project should be able to find a very reasonably priced farmhouse as many have not been modernised.
The Causses traditional style houses are also popular. These are stone built and have vaults supporting the structure. The roofs are heavy and the houses are very solidly built.
The Mas style house is a farmhouse but a fairly large one and many people are opting for this style. These often have outbuildings and a fair amount of land. These are built so that the rear of the house faces the incoming winds and generally have small windows and a solid rectangular shape.
The Lozère style house is a stone built house that varies from the Causses style house. The stone colours used are very distinctive and are usually filled with French traditional features. These are also similar to the Cevennes houses which are also stone built and made from limestone or granite. They have small windows on the side of the house that gets the most sun, in order to keep the interior cool.
The ‘bastide’ style house is a typical country house which is symmetrical in design and usually comes with a large garden area. Village houses are another option as the areas has many small villages to choose from. These are generally stone built properties in a traditional style and are relatively small properties as they were once the homes of agricultural workers. These are more likely to be a renovation project though some have already been modernised.
The area is filled with mills, many of which are available to renovate and some of them still have the original features. These are multi-storey buildings and are usually very picturesque properties.
There are many villas to be found in the area. These houses are usually fairly large with big gardens and often a swimming pool. They often have red tiled roofs and large windows, and many of them have been built fairly recently.
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