Tips for Languedoc property buyers looking for the sunshine!
When hunting for French property, climate is often a number one priority and the southern French region of Languedoc-Roussillon is an obvious choice for sun-seekers.
Plump for the Med and you’ll be looking at hot, dry summers, mild, humid winters, few rainy days and plenty of rays (Languedoc-Roussillon basks in an annual average of than 300 days of sun per annum).
However, even if parts of the south if France offer sunshine almost year-round, temperatures change significantly as you head away from the coast; Languedoc-Roussillon boasts both mountains and sea, so you can swelter by the coast but feel chilly in the hills if you don’t pack your winter woollies.
What does this mean for Languedoc property hunters?
• Take into account the summer and winter weather of your chosen area of Languedoc. The region is divided up into five départements – Gard, Lozère, Hérault, Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales – so make sure you’re looking at local rather than regional stats when comparing climatic conditions.
• Check out the average daily amount of sunshine, the rainfall and wind conditions, as well as the position of the sun relative to a potential purchase. The orientation of your new home is key: for maximum sunshine, balconies, terraces and gardens need to be south-facing, so take your compass along on Languedoc property viewing trips.
• Don’t expect to bag a rock-bottom bargain for a Languedoc home with coastal proximity, as this position adds a premium to the purchase price. To find more bricks for less bucks, search inland (lakes and river swimming spots can provide a good alternative to the seaside).
• Weather conditions will have an effect on the repairs and maintenance of your property. Thinking of buying in an exposed location? A wind-swept, rain-lashed home can cost more in upkeep. There is also the resale potential of your Languedoc property to consider: while you may not be bothered by the gusts of the Tramontane and Mistral winds, others may be less keen.
• Purchase near water and you may find it costs more to insure your Languedoc home against flooding. To keep your head above water – both literally and metaphorically – ask around. If flooding is a common occurrence in your property search area, the locals will regale you with their tales.
• Read the detail in the final property sales contract; it is obligatory for a certificat d’urbanisme to be included, and this will tell you if the property is located within a flooding zone (zone inondable). Ask specifically if it has ever been inondé (flooded); the owner is legally obliged to reveal any defects that he knows of. Similarly, wise Languedoc property hunters will consult their local mairie (town hall) for full flood zone details.
Rest assured however: the vast majority of Languedoc-Roussillon towns and villages are dry and sunny for most of the year. If anything, it is the lack of water rather than its excess that poses the occasional problem, and in those areas where the Tramontane blows regularly the upside is clear, blue, cloud-free skies!
FOR FURTHER READING
For more general information about Languedoc-Russillon climate and weather patterns such as the Mistral and Tramontane.
For more in depth research, the French Meteorological office site has good maps and historical weather data. And go to this link to search for information based on the last 7 days, the last 12 months or… the last 10 years!.
The French Ministry of Ecology website provides detailed, region-specific facts and figures on flood risks and maps of flooding zones, plus all the latest info on drought conditions and their consequences (in French only).
TIPS FOR WEATHER-WISE HOUSE HUNTING
1. Think micro, not macro – look at local rather than departmental or regional weather data.
2. Don’t forget your compass – handy for checking the aspect of your future home.
3. It never rains but it pours… so pore over annual precipitation figures before purchasing a Languedoc property.
4. Sunnier spots by the sea will command a price premium; head inland for a cooler climate and lower prices.
5. A home exposed to the elements can cost more in repairs and maintenance.
6. Tempted to buy on the waterfront? Check the price of insurance quotes – flooding can cost you dear.
7. Extreme climate conditions can affect resale potential – so think before you sign on the dotted line.