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Buying Property

Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie) - Buying Property

QUICK LINKS: France Guide - France Discussion Forum - France Property Listings

This region of France is located in the North West and has a coastline on the English Channel. It consists of three departments: Calvados, Manche and Orne. The area has played a significant role in both French and British history for centuries and the economy there is based mainly on agriculture, although there is a steady tourism industry. Mont-Saint-Michel sees more than 3 million tourists each year and is now an official World Heritage Site.

There are excellent transport links in the region, with major ferry ports as well as airports, making this a popular area with British expats in particular. Britain and Ireland are both easily reached by boat and the rail networks mean that Paris and other French cities are just a few hours away. The area is particularly peaceful and is a good example of the laidback way of life in France.

Tourists come to the area to visit the historical monuments and attractions such as the Bayeux tapestry and the heritage of the area brings in many people each year. The area is famed for good restaurants, food and wine. There is something for everyone, from beach resorts in the Calvados area to a quieter life in the countryside.

The area has relatively low property prices when compared to other regions of France and the national average, although it is not the cheapest. In 2009 the average house price was €2570 per square metre, while the national average was €3200 per square metre. As with all regions, it depends on the area you are looking in as to how expensive the property is going to be. Normandy is an area which still has bargains in the property market, particularly if you are prepared to take on a renovation project.

The Calvados department has around 670,000 inhabitants and is in the north east part of the region. The area has different types of landscapes from the coast to the hills and is considered to be a particularly beautiful part of the country. The average property prices in Calvados are slightly higher than the regional average. In 2009 it was €2900 per square metre, but the area is particularly popular with expats so the demand has helped to keep the price higher than in other areas. The cost of buying an apartment in the area was much higher at €3459 per square metre. The area also has a number of towns such as Deauville which are very popular with wealthier people, so this also helps to keep the averages high. There are some areas, particularly in the countryside, where prices are much lower and property bargains can be found.

French mortgages for expats The town of Bayeux attracts many tourists each year but prices are still very affordable in the area as the 2009 average was €2230 per square metre, so this is a good investment for any expat. The property in Caen offers more older-style homes than in other towns as it was one of a small number of towns in Normandy that suffered very little damage during the Second World War. Average prices there in 2009 were €2560 per square metre, which is still below the regional average. As pointed out already, Deauville is expensive, with prices topping €4800 per square metre in 2009.

The Manche department has just under half a million inhabitants and is home to towns such as Cherbourg and Rennes. The area has good transport links and the motorway and rail systems can take you to most of the major cities in France. Manche is popular with those who enjoy water sports and the main industry is agriculture although tourism is a close second. The average property prices are much lower than in the Calvados department, with the average 2009 house price at €2031 per square metre, which makes the area attractive to buyers. There are very few apartments in the area and most of the homes on offer are family houses.

The town of Avranches is mainly a tourist area and many people choose to buy to let there. The town of Cherbourg has affordable prices which are on a par with the regional average and there are good opportunities there too for those interested in running gîtes or a B&B. In Saint-Lô prices dropped during 2008 and 2009 so there are bargains to be had in the area.

The Orne department is in the south of the region and does not have any coastline. It is a very agricultural area and this helps to keep the property prices very low. The average property price in 2009 was €1540 per square metre. Most people prefer to buy property closer to the sea which is helping to keep the prices in this area low, although it should be considered that the Orne department is not too far away from the sea. In contrast to most areas which saw 2009 prices rise slightly, the prices in Orne were still dropping, albeit slowly.

The town of Alençon was slightly below the department average in 2009 with prices at €1500 per square metre, while Argentan matched the department average. The town of Domfront was slightly higher at €1542 and people are drawn there by the beautiful surrounding countryside. Flers is one of the cheapest towns in the department at just €1340 per square metre in 2009, but it is a very quiet town and ideal for those who are looking for a more laidback way of life.

The ‘Clos Augeron’ is a type of farmhouse which offers the buyer a range of agricultural buildings, so each one will come with a bakery, a dairy and other features which are ideal for those who are interested in self sufficiency. Those who are not interested will be able to convert these outbuildings and make the house itself larger, as there are usually only four rooms for living space.

There are many manor houses available in the area. These were owned by the wealthier members of society and usually have a minimum of five bedrooms and are sometimes laid out over three storeys.

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