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Buying Property

Upper Normandy (Haute-Normandie) - Buying Property

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


The Haute-Normandie region consists of two departments: Eure and Seine Maritime. There are 1.75 million inhabitants in the region and it is one of the most popular with expats due to the excellent transport links. There are over 50 large parks in the region and acres of unspoilt countryside which make it very attractive for those who are looking to experience a relaxed way of life, although the coastline is also a positive factor for those who are moving from countries such as Britain, where properties are very expensive on the coast.

People are also drawn to the area for the heritage. Normandy has played an important role in the histories of both the French and British nations and there are many historical monuments that can be visited. The economy is becoming increasingly commercial, with a number of major companies choosing to establish a base there, although this does not encroach on the peacefulness of the area as much of the region is still agricultural.

Cities such as Paris are easily reached using the good transport links, as there is a motorway network and good rail links to most parts of the country. Normandy is famous for its good food and wine as well as the history and the scenery.

The property prices in Haute-Normandie (as calculated in 2009) were much lower than the national average at around €2200 per square metre. The area is one of the most reasonably priced regions of the country and many people opt for buy to let investments, with some towns having a very high percentage of tenants rather than owners and some areas being tourist areas. Gîtes and B&Bs are a popular option.

The Eure department is attractive for those who like the countryside and there are plans in place to make it one of the most environmentally friendly places in France. Agriculture is a main part of the economy in this department and agricultural land covers more than 60% of the area. The average property prices in 2009 in the Eure department were €2060 per square metre. Some areas did see a drop in prices during the economic downturn and although recovery has started, it is fairly slow. Some of the towns have a high proportion of tenants so a buy to let property would be a good investment. The town of Evreux is within easy travelling distance of Paris, but this has not raised the property prices too much and homes are still very affordable there. The same applies to the town of Breuteuil.

French mortgages for expats The town of Vernon has around 25,000 inhabitants and the average property prices there in 2009 are on a part with the Eure department average, although buying an apartment could prove to be more expensive when costs are calculated on a per square metre basis. There is a demand for apartments and there are not many of them, particularly in areas where rental properties are in demand. Buy to let is a good investment in Vernon, although this is also a good area to settle in, with prices so low and the lifestyle being so laid back.

The Seine-Maritime department has 1.2 million inhabitants who are spread over nearly 750 towns and villages. There are landscapes in the area to suit every taste, from coastlines to countryside. The average property prices there in 2009 were €2358 per square metre, which is much lower than the national average though higher than the regional average. This is due to the increased commercialisation of this area. The area is popular with British expats and with those who wish to buy to let. The popular harbour town of Dieppe is part of this department and prices there in 2009 were just €2135 per square metre which is lower than the department average. Fécamp was even lower at €1905 per square metre, despite the fact that it is a popular beach resort. Prices in Le Havre are higher at €2400 per square metre, but this is still very affordable.

The city of Rouen is one of the most popular destinations for tourists who visit northern France. It is one of the oldest cities in France. The area has a wealth of museums and art galleries and there is a wide range of architecture from all different periods in history. It has a thriving commercial sector and is attractive to expats who want a taste of city life without the expensive price tag of Paris, Lyon or Marseille. The average property price there in 2009 was €2660 per square metre, which is far below the national average of €3200. It is higher than the department average but this is due to the increased demand and amenities available. Rouen is also a good place if considering a buy to let as nearly three quarters of the residents there are tenants.

There are many brick houses in this area of Normandy, which are reminiscent of similar homes in England, although half timbered houses are a much more common sight. The Longère houses originated from neighbouring Brittany and are houses of one floor which are laid out in a row with several outhouses, which can be converted if required.

The Pays de Bray farmhouses are also a familiar sight and these can have either a brick structure or a timber frame. They are long and narrow like the longère, although the living part of the house is usually set over a cellar which would have been used for cheese making. They usually have attached stables and attics and most people will renovate and convert these to increase living space, as the house itself would have had no more than two bedrooms.

The Pays de Caux farmhouse is usually a brick house over two storeys with the farm buildings around it in almost a circular shape. There are usually a minimum of three outbuildings. The houses are bigger than most farmhouse styles and were usually owned by wealthy farmers. They often come complete with a large parcel of land.



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