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North-Calais (Nord-Pas-de-Calais) - Buying Property
Nord Pas de Calais consists of two departments: Nord and Pas de Calais. The region has around 4 million inhabitants is one of the most densely populated parts of the country. The area is particularly popular with British expats who may still be keen to keep their job in the UK as the commuting times to London are fairly fast. The weather is comparable to that in the South of England and despite this being one of the busiest areas of the country, the lifestyle is still very relaxed.
The average property price in the region in mid-2009 was €2427 per square metre, which is around 25% lower than the national average. Prices vary depending upon the type and size of property that is being purchased as well as the location. Average apartment prices were between €2630 and €2910 staying consistent with the national average, though the larger the apartment the less a buyer would have to pay per square metre. This means that a studio can often work out to the same price as a 1 room apartment when the total price is calculated.
The Nord department is one of the most densely populated departments and has over 600 towns and villages to choose from. The average property price was €2595 per square metre in 2009, which is below the national average. Prices varied a lot from town to town, with the average cost of a house in Lille being €190,000 while houses in Cambrai were an average of €116,000. Around half of the inhabitants of Cambrai rent their homes, giving the area a lot of potential for investments.
Lille has nearly a quarter of a million inhabitants and is the fourth largest city in the country. The development of the Eurotunnel has ensured that the town has a steady stream of visitors. The average property price in 2009 was €2902 per square metre. The town is a good prospect for those interested in a buy to let property as it has a large student population.
The Pas de Calais department has nearly 1.5 million inhabitants and is home to the towns of Arras and Calais which attract many visitors each year. Property in the Pas de Calais department is much more expensive than the national average, with the 2009 average price at €3729 per square metre. This price will vary depending upon the type, size and location of the property. 81% of properties in this department are detached and more than half of the inhabitants own their property rather than rent. The town of Arras has an average price which is much lower than the rest of the department, at €2470 per square metre.
Calais has around 75000 inhabitants and has grown from a small fishing village to a major port and is the main crossing route from the UK to France. Calais itself is very affordable in comparison to the rest of the department and a small house averaged €70,000 in 2008, with larger houses being available for up to €156,000. House prices did drop slightly in the economic downturn but recovery began in 2009 and prices are rising slightly again.
Brick houses are among the main types of houses in the region, most built with red or brown brick. These can be found both in towns and the countryside and often have a large garden and often a garage. The town houses which are available in the region are also often brick buildings and are usually a good size. The closer they are to a town centre the less likely they are to have a garden and many will just have to settle for a courtyard. Town houses may have the added benefit of a cellar.
Due to the agricultural nature of the area, there are always a number of farmhouses on offer. Many have already been modernised but there are plenty that haven’t, for those who want a renovation project. These are usually a good sized property with a minimum of two bedrooms and plenty of land. These also have a number of outbuildings which can be converted for additional living space.
The region has a number of Longère type houses. These houses have a rectangular shape and usually offer plenty of space indoors and out, often with outbuildings that can be converted if required. Half timbered houses are also a frequent sight. These usually have a timber frame though and the cob that was between the frames is often replaced by brick. In this area the roofs are often brown or red tiles.
The ‘maison de maître’ are usually very large houses which date back to the 18th century. They are usually constructed of stone and have many rooms and plenty of land. They are very impressive-looking houses and it is still possible to find one that is a reasonably priced renovation project. This type of property has many traditional French features which buyers are usually keen to keep when they renovate.
There are many villas located close to the coast. These are usually large houses with gardens and garages and have many windows which make the houses light and airy. They often cost more than a traditional house as they usually have a good location and are often fairly new.
The town of Lille has a large number of apartments and studio apartments, with over 20% of homes falling into this category. These are mainly located in the city centre or on estates nearby. These range from 1 room studios to apartments with 4 or 5 rooms.
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