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Midi-Pyrenees - Buying Property
Most of the region has a sparse population, although towns like Toulouse are densely populated. The area has excellent transport links with a number of airports and good rail links. Other parts of France and Europe can be easily reached within a few hours. Large numbers of expats have settled in the area, attracted by the scenery and the opportunity to experience the laid back French way of life.
Property prices in the region vary wildly depending upon which department you are in. The economic crisis has affected the region although in some areas prices did hold well. The more sparsely populated areas have properties available at fairly low prices and now is a good time to invest before the property market has fully recovered. The regional average for 2009 was just below the national average, although this is affected by the high prices in areas like Toulouse.
The Ariège department is situated in the Pyrénées Mountains and is home to more than 137,000 inhabitants. The main industries are agriculture and tourism. The average property prices for an apartment in the region varied between €1320 and €4130 per square metre, depending upon the size and age of the apartment. As with all regions, new apartments are much more expensive. Those who are looking for a renovation project will find that there are bargains to be had when looking outside the towns.
The Aveyron department is the largest in the region and has more than a quarter of a million inhabitants. The area is famous for the outdoor sporting activities that it offers and many people come for the hiking and the fishing. The average property price in 2009 was €1700 per square metre, which is far below the national average of €3200. Most of the homes in the area are fairly large and almost 20% of homes are second homes, so the area sees many weekend visitors.
The Gers region is very sparsely populated, with only one town with more than 10,000 inhabitants. The area is mainly agricultural and the climate is mild, with cold winters but good summers. The average property price in 2009 was between €113,000 and €234,000, depending upon the area and the size of the property. To purchase an old apartment the cost was €1340 per square metre, and prices in this department have not suffered in the same way that others have.
The Haute-Garonne department has different landscapes, offering visitors both mountain views and rolling countryside. The climate is affected by both the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean. The area has a number of ski resorts and attracts those interested in winter sports. The average prices in the area are fairly high due to the area being home to Toulouse and the average house price in 2009 was €246,100, although there are many properties available at a much lower price if you are prepared to look outside the town.
The Haute-Pyrénées department is a fairly tranquil part of the region and attracts many expat buyers for that reason alone. Sporting activities are popular in the area with many people enjoying cycling and hiking. Wine production and agriculture are among the main industries. The average property price in the department was €1661 per square metre in 2009, which was half the national average. Around 20% of homes in the area are second homes, so the area sees many weekend visitors.
The Lot department has over 120 world heritage sites and attracts thousands of tourists each year. The average property price in 2009 was €1733 per square metre. The cost of an apartment is much lower and the area is popular with those who want to buy to let. Newly built properties are more expensive than older ones, but older properties can be bought for a very low price if they need a little renovation work.
The Tarn department has around 360,000 inhabitants and is mountainous in the south with plains in other areas. The area is famous for its wine and historical monuments, although many people come to take part in outdoor activities such as climbing and paragliding. The average property price in 2009 was €1800 per square metre, making it a very affordable area when compared to the national average. There are very few small apartments and studios as most properties are designed for families.
The Tarn et Garonne department has nearly a quarter of a million inhabitants and the area is famous for hat production, although most people come to the area drawn by the number of historical monuments. The average property price in the area in 2009 was €1723 per square metre, making the area affordable for most. Prices at the beginning of 2008 were rising although the economic crisis has caused this to slow down. Purchasing an apartment was a little more expensive, with prices close to the national average at €1420 per square metre.
Ariège traditional houses are very simple properties, built from stone and wood. They are built to catch the sun’s rays and are not usually very large properties. Causse houses are made from stone and usually have stone vaults and outdoor staircases. They often have outbuildings attached which are ideal for conversion to make the living accommodation bigger.
Pebble houses are common in certain areas, and these can have pebble walls on the outside, inside or both. They are layered with bricks and are very solid structures, but houses of this type can prove to be costly if requiring renovation.
Barns and farmhouses are the most popular property types among expats and there are many available in this area, often very cheaply if they are run down. Those that have already been renovated have been done very sympathetically and most will have some of the original features such as fireplaces.
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