Thinking about buying a house in Bouches-du-Rhône in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur? We spoke to local estate agent Julie Lichtlé, of Leggett Immobilier, to find out about the property market in this sunny area of France
What’s the cheapest property you have on your books right now?
I have an original one-bedroom fisherman’s cottage in the heart of the chic port of Cassis. It has been totally renovated in a contemporary style and is close to all the attractions of the port and the famous calanques. It’s priced at €270,000 with a little room for negotiation.
What’s the most unusual property you have now?
It has to be a listed apartment in the centre of Aix-en-Provence priced at just over €2,000,000. It’s actually considered a work of art, and the ceilings were painted by the famous 18th-century artist Van Loo. It has been home to famous aristocrats, politicians and celebrities of the city. Visiting this property is like visiting a film set – and the owner is as colourful as his property!
How much would you expect to pay for:
1. A detached property with land in good condition?
Anything within a five-mile radius of Aix-en-Provence would start at €650,000.
2. A three-bedroom townhouse?
A three-bedroom townhouse in the centre of Aix-en-Provence would also start at €650,000, but would be much more if there was a decent-sized garden and a garage.
3. A renovation opportunity?
There a very few renovation opportunities here, as everything was snapped up years ago, but as the French here dislike renovation work, you can expect at least a 20-30% discount for a property that requires work.
Why do British people buy in your area?
The reasons for buying are very diverse. Many Brits and Americans come to work here, as we have a number of high-tech companies in the area. Others come here having studied at the university. They come back to Aix-en-Provence for the quality of life and the dynamic cultural environment. Some come for the 300-plus days of sunshine per year, of course, and the very dry climate.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying in Bouches-du-Rhône?
Think carefully about what you are looking for. If you love the markets and the cultural life the cities offer here, make sure you are not too far out. Many people buy in more isolated spots and then want to sell up within a few years so they can live closer to the city.
What tips would you give to help people settle into life in the area?
It’s actually very easy to settle in Provence as there is a large community of Brits and Americans in most cities, particularly Aix-en-Provence. However, a good level of French is essential to get the most out of life here. There are lots of international schools, but if your children are young enough, you should go for the French system, and you will be welcomed with open arms.
What are your predictions for the property market in Bouches-du-Rhône?
Prices will stay stable for the coming 18 months or so. Prices of property close to the city centres, and with good access, will always remain high here. If the pound continues to strengthen against the euro, Provence will have never been so affordable.
Describe Bouches-du-Rhône in five words.
Sun, sun, sun, blue skies!!