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Buying Property

Pays de la Loire - Buying Property

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

The Pays de la Loire is a region in the west of France which consists of five departments: Sarthe, Mayenne, Maine-et-Loire, Loire-Atlantique and Vendée. The region has around 3.5 million inhabitants. As a region it is one of the most recent, having been created in 1955 and includes the cities of Nantes and Le Mans.

In 2009 the average apartment price for the region in general was €2660 per square metre, which was just below the national average, but the average property price overall was slightly higher than the national average at €3402. Prices vary among the departments and the more expensive departments are very close to the national average.

The Loire Atlantique department used to belong to Brittany and is home to the town of Nantes. It has over 1.2 million inhabitants. It has over 130km of coastline and this attracts many people to the area. Property prices depend on which section of the department you are looking at. The average in 2009 was €3100 per square metre, but the town of Saint-Nazare is one of the most sought after areas in France and prices averaged at €4500 per square metre.

The Maine et Loire department is one of the most industrial regions in western France and property prices are much cheaper there than in other departments of the region. The average price in 2009 was €2145 per square metre with the towns of Cholet and Saumur much cheaper again. Those who are looking for a renovation project should have plenty to choose from in this area. The average house price was €164,800, although a renovation project could be less than half that.

The Mayenne department has around 300,000 inhabitants and is a very tranquil part of the region. In this department there is one of the lowest average property prices in the country, with the 2009 average at €1208 per square metre. Prices are not changing too much there at the moment as buyers seem to prefer the surrounding areas, but Mayenne has a lot to offer potential buyers. The average house price was €117,800. The area does not offer any studio apartments, but the average cost of a larger apartment is €1230 per square metre.

French mortgages for expats The Sarthe department is located next to the Mayenne department and half of its inhabitants live in the main town of Le Mans. The weather is better than that in nearby Normandy and Brittany with far less rain, which is attracting a number of expats to the area. The average property price in 2009 was €1917 per square metre, though prices are a little lower in Le Mans. In the town of Sablé-sur-Sarthe the prices dropped during 2008 but now are showing signs of a steady increase.

The Vendée department is a mainly tourist area of the region and has just over 600,000 inhabitants. The average price of property in the area in 2009 was €3287 per square metre, which is just over the national average, but the demand for properties in this area has continued to be high, even with the economic downturn, which is helping to keep the prices fairly high too. This area is a very welcoming one for expats, and many have started businesses in the area, such as restaurants and gîte rentals.

Longère style houses are very common in the Pays de la Loire region. These are fairly large houses which are built in a rectangular shape and which often have outbuildings attached. They were usually built so that the back of the house would deflect the dominant winds coming in from the Atlantic. They often have plenty of land with them and it is possible to find examples which are in need of renovation and therefore much cheaper. These houses are usually on one storey, but renovated houses often have an attic conversion.

There are a number of thatched houses in the region. These used to be the homes of agricultural workers and are often stone built. They are often fairly small, with small doors and windows. These are also often available for renovation. There are around 3000 thatched houses in the Brière park and these often date back to the 17th century.

Bourrine houses are common in the marshland areas. They are houses that have been simply built and used local materials. They often have large fireplaces and were built to resist the wind and other elements coming in from the sea. These are often smaller properties but do have reasonably sized gardens.

The area also has the ‘Troglodytic’ properties, which were built into the rock. The unusual architecture makes them sought after, but the prices are still very affordable.

There are many barns in the area which have the potential for renovation. These are often large structures which are ideal for family life and as they are situated in the countryside offer the chance for peace and tranquillity. Farmhouses frequently come onto the market and some are in need of renovation, which means that they are cheaper to buy. They usually have a lot of land with them and numerous outbuildings which can be converted into additional living space if required.

The area has a large number of stone built properties which are usually medium sized and are of a very simple design. They are usually older properties and have great features like exposed beams and original fireplaces, which many expats look for when buying in the country.

Chaumière houses are very traditional properties which tend to keep their value, even when other house prices are falling. They were made with local materials and were very inexpensive to construct, but they are well insulated and offer good value to any buyer.

The towns are filled with town houses, but the closer they are to the town centre the less land they will have with them, and some may only have a small courtyard. They are usually brick buildings and are desirable to those who want to be close to all the local amenities.

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