It is a truth universally acknowledged (on the Hexagon anyway) that the French really do prefer to buy new properties. Across France, in cities, towns and tiny villages, new builds are being snapped up by buyers.
However, they now have serious competition. Overseas buyers are increasingly choosing to purchase new builds.
New developments often come with leisure facilities attached to them – for example swimming pools, gyms, restaurants and even golf courses – though these are much rarer in cities, where space is limited.
“Buying off-plan in France is simple and straightforward,” explains Annick Dauchy, FrenchEntrée Property Business Development Manager. “And it comes with no DIY frustration or spiralling financial costs. New property comes with various guarantees attached to it covering the structure of the building to the fixtures and fittings. These guarantees form part of the contract when buying new builds – though it’s also important to make sure that the developer has proper insurance to cover any liability to meet the guarantees. If in doubt, check with the notaire or hire your own lawyer to make sure. Of course, just because a property is new does not guarantee it is right for you either as a home, holiday home or investment. There are bad developments as well as good ones.”
But one clear advantage is the reduced ‘frais de notaires’ or registration fees new build buyers benefit from – but only if they buy while the flat/home is still under construction.
It is important to check out the area where the development is being (or already has been) built. Don’t take developers at their word. They are unlikely to tell you about plans for a new chemical plant down the road or factory round the corner.
If you are buying on a small development that is full of character you should make sure that the same or other developers are not planning to put up a row of new box-style homes next door in a few years once all the up-market homes are sold. To find out more ask the mairie, neighbours and local estate agents.
Most places look great in the sunshine. But some developments can feel empty and desolate off-season, especially if some of the local facilities close down in winter. In tourist areas, for example, you might find that your favourite restaurant is shut from October till March.