Haven of tranquillity

French developer works to attract Britons to Europe’s new tax haven

The news that French president Nicolas Sarkozy is planning to overhaul his country’s wealth tax system next year has prompted a leading French property developer to target wealthy Britons in a bid to encourage them to make their homes in the historic lakeside town of Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region of France.

Those who become resident in the country could find themselves better off with the threshold at which wealth tax becomes payable increasing from €800,000 to €1.3 million. It has been suggested that, for wealthy residents, France could become more attractive than some Swiss cantons.

Says Richard Deans, who heads the London sales office of Annecy-based MGM French Properties: “France could become a new tax haven for expatriates. Until now, Annecy – in the foothills of the French Alps – has been relatively unknown to Britons. The historic and picturesque olde worlde’ university town with its Little Venice’ canal network, restaurants, caf�s and weekly markets has a lot to offer Britons seeking a new life in one of the most beautiful parts of Europe. It is located just half an hour from Geneva by road and regularly hosts international conferences, festivals and sporting events.”

Richard reports that Britons are among those showing interest in new properties being built by MGM in Annecy and around its lake, said to be the cleanest in Europe.

Currently, the firm is busy completing its latest development of exclusive new luxury apartments at La Reserve in the residential area fronting the town’s prestigious Avenue d’Albigny. Dubbed the Champs �lys�es of Annecy,’ it is said to be the town’s most enviable address.’

Comprising two three-storey buildings, together containing 17 one- to three-bedroom apartments, La Reserve follows the success of MGM’s earlier schemes in the town. Featuring contemporary designs, both inside and out, it is unusual as buyers can choose from a huge variety of kitchens, bathrooms, doors, tiles and other finishes to personalise their bespoke homes. All of them will have spacious balconies or terraces, many with views of the lake and mountains.

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La Reserve is described by MGM as a showcase for environmentally friendly development’ with features ranging from geothermic under-floor heating to the use of water-based products in place of conventional solvent-based ones. In many cases MGM has opted for building materials that can be recycled in the longer term.

Prices of the apartments start at €459,000 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Elsewhere in Annecy, MGM is building Les Jardins d’Albigny comprising two three-storey buildings together containing a total of 14 contemporary two- to four-bedroom apartments set in spacious landscaped gardens.

All but eight of the apartments have been sold off-plan. For those remaining, prices range from €629,000 for a two-bedroom home to €936,000 for a three-bedroom apartment.

In the Annecy le Vieux area of the town, all but six of the 16 apartments have been sold at Le Clos des Arts, a small development currently under construction. Available for outright purchase, prices start at €250,000.

Also under construction, at Veyrier du Lac on the sunny south-west facing east side of Lake Annecy, is Les Jardins d’Eos, named after the Greek goddess of the Dawn. The low-rise development comprises four buildings, each containing seven contemporary apartments ranging in size from one to four bedrooms with two or three bathrooms and floor areas of 71 sq m to 116 sq m. All but one of the properties have been sold. The remaining three-bedroom penthouse is prices at €735,000.

All the apartments, which have panoramic views of the lake, come with under-floor heating and an underground private garage. Owners will have use of a communal pool.

Tel: 0207 4940706

Email: london@mgm-immobilier.fr

www.mgmfrenchproperties.com