Purchasing French property doesn’t have to mean a rural farmhouse or a beachside apartment—there are many other options to consider if you’re looking to buy a second house. With competitive prices and all the advantages of a residential holiday park, buying a mobile home in France could be an ideal solution. Here’s what you need to know.
Why Buy a Mobile Home in France?
A vacation home that’s hassle-free, cost-effective, and situated in one of France’s most sought-after locations? A French mobile home might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Not only is buying a mobile home far cheaper than investing in French property, but it’s a much more straightforward legal process. There are no notaire’s fees, property taxes, or concerns over property ownership and French inheritance laws. Most also come fully furnished, meaning no additional costs or renovations.
For second-home owners, there are clear advantages to owning a mobile home. Maintenance of the property and land is minimal, and there are few worries about security and upkeep if you are leaving the property empty for long periods of time—most holiday parks have CCTV and ground staff to keep an eye on things. They are also often located in popular tourist areas, with easy access to the beach, ski slopes, or nearby attractions.
Purchasing a mobile home can also be a great first step for those who hope to one day buy a house in France or make the move overseas. It’s cheaper, easier, and much less commitment than jumping straight into a property purchase, and it gives you a chance to experience life in France free from the responsibilities of being a homeowner. Add to that the amenities and built-in community of a residential holiday park, and it’s easy to see why more and more foreign buyers are opting for a mobile home purchase.
The Costs of Buying and Owning a Mobile Home in France
Mobile home prices start from around €30,000 if you are purchasing new or around €10,000 second-hand. Prices vary according to the size of the mobile home, the location and park facilities, and the condition and fittings. There are a wide variety of styles too, from simple 2-bed mobile homes or static caravans, to luxurious chalet-style properties, with prices varying accordingly.
One bonus of buying a mobile home is that there are no additional fees on the initial purchase. Mobile homes do not need to be purchased through a notaire like all other French properties and this means no estate agents fees or notaire’s fees, which can sometimes add up to 15% of the property price.
Along with the additional outlay, you will have to pay a ground rental fee in order to keep your mobile home at a campsite or residential holiday park. Annual rates typically start around €2,000 but could reach €6,000 or more depending on the site location and amenities. There may also be some additional charges for grounds maintenance, and services such as water and electricity (paid either as a standard fee or metered quarterly bill). Most sites will also require that you take out home insurance.
Another big advantage is that mobile homes are easy to rent out in your absence, and if you have consistent bookings, you might even be able to cover your running costs. However, not all mobile home parks allow rentals, so be sure to check the rule and regulations at the time of purchase.
Buying a Mobile Home in France: Legal and Tax Considerations
It’s important to note that while mobile homes can make a great choice as a vacation home or as a temporary residence, you cannot live permanently in a mobile home. Under French law, mobile homes may be used for temporary or leisure occupation only. If you are planning to move to France, for example, you are legally allowed to live in a mobile home for a maximum of two years.
There are also strict rules about where you can permanently install a mobile home. Your mobile home will need to be installed on a residential leisure park (parc residentiel de loisirs), a residential holiday park (village de vacance en hebergement), or a campsite. Be sure to check the park’s guidelines regarding how long you can live in your mobile home too—some do not allow permanent residents at all.
As a non-‘fixed’ building, you are also not liable to pay local property taxes—taxe d’habitation and taxe foncière—as the owner of a mobile home, providing that they are used for temporary or seasonal lodging.
Location Location Location: Where to Buy in France
Mobile homes and static caravans come with the added benefits of their location. Holiday parks are typically situated close to popular vacation spots or attractions—it can be a smart way for property buyers on a lower budget to purchase in some of France’s most expensive real estate zones.
Choose a mobile home park by the beach, in the mountains, or along a lake, or opt for a park with amenities such as a swimming pool, tennis courts, and kids’ play areas. Many parks provide on-site entertainment or activities during the summer months, and the park’s built-in community can be reassuring to those new to France.
Be sure to choose a campsite or park that fits your needs. Is it family-friendly? Do they accept pets? Do they allow sub-lets and seasonal rentals? What is there to see and do in the area?
How to Buy a Mobile Home in France
There are other things to consider when buying a mobile home in France. Do you buy it second-hand or new? Do you buy it on-site or do you find a site and install your own? By far the easiest option is to buy directly from the holiday park—there is often a selection of new and second-hand mobile homes available to purchase. Many holiday parks do not accept mobile homes that were purchased elsewhere or charge a substantial fee for this, so be sure to check this in advance if you plan to go a different route.
Finally, think about the type and style of mobile home that you wish to purchase. Mobile homes in France cannot be more than 40m2, but there are smaller sizes available. You should also consider the plot size, number of rooms and bedrooms, and furnishings. Buying a new mobile home means you may have some choice over the décor style and fittings.
Just as with buying a French property, you should plan to visit the holiday park, explore the surrounding area, and arrange a viewing of your potential mobile home before moving ahead with your purchase. Ideally, check into a mobile home on-site for a few nights or enjoy a holiday at the same location before committing.
Ready to Buy a Mobile Home in France?
Whatever type of property you choose to buy in France, FrenchEntrée is here to help. Browse our property for sale in locations all around the country, or visit our mobile home zone for more advice on buying a mobile home in France.