Lake Annecy Property
Enjoy a leisurely swim in the warm, sheltered waters of one of the cleanest and purest lakes in the world or plunge down into the watery depths and explore ancient underwater archaeological sites dating back to Neolithic times; stroll through the charming medieval streets of Annecy old town before dining in one of the canal-side restaurants and sampling the local speciality of creamy and deliciously cheesy ‘raclette’ washed down with the local red Vin de Pays des Coteaux de l’Ardèche; cruise around the lake to drink in the breathtaking scenery of majestic mountains rising up behind the sparkling blue hues of Lake Annecy. Within 30km of popular ski resorts such as Le Grand Bornand and La Clusaz and strategically located between Italy, Geneva and France, Lake Annecy property offers investors a central location in one of the most picturesque areas in the Haute Savoie region of the Rhône-Alps.
Quintessentially Savoyard, Annecy is a charming Alpine town beating with an ancient medieval heart criss-crossed with canals, flower-covered bridges and narrow streets. Located on the shores of Lake Annecy – over 14km long and said to be the cleanest in Europe – Annecy is a popular and chic town, drawing visitors throughout the summer and winter months. Lake Annecy property is highly sought after, particularly for lakeside properties where supply is limited, and continues to command a premium price both to buy and rent.
Annecy enjoys a rich culture and history, drawing on its historical links with Italy, France and Switzerland. Originally belonging to the Geneva County, the town was integrated into the House of Savoy in the Middle Ages, before becoming part of the new French department of Mont Blanc during the French Revolution. In 1815 during the Restoration it returned to House of Savoy, which finally became part of France in 1860. Annecy has also been named a ‘French town of Art and History’ by the French government to protect its historical, cultural and architectural heritage. Lake Annecy has an even older history spanning thousands of years - archaeologists have found remains of a waterfront settlement near Annecy-le-Vieux dating back to at least 3100 BC.
Lake Annecy’s sheltered location is a perfect setting for water sports such as sailing, windsurfing, waterskiing and scuba diving. Home to over twenty different species of fish including Féra and Arctic char, as well as crayfish, the lake also draws fishing enthusiasts from around the world willing to try their luck and hook that elusive catch. An alternative to the water is to hire a bicycle and go for a leisurely cycle along the shore, drinking in the fabulous views and stopping for lunch at one of the beautiful villages dotted around the lake.
Lake Annecy is synonymous with friendliness and good living and is a Mecca for French cuisine so there is a wealth of choice when deciding where to dine out; four Michelin-starred chefs have establishments on the lake shore and in the town itself there are many chic restaurants and bistros offering famous regional dishes such as tartiflette – a deliciously rich and creamy bake of reblochon cheese, bacon and potato - and fondue savoyarde made with comte emmental and beaufort cheeses cooked with white wine and garlic.
When winter closes in, skiers need to drive a mere 30 minutes to reach popular family resorts like Le Grand Bornand and La Clusaz to enjoy a relaxed weekend of skiing.
In 2012, French property price growth slowed to 0.8% according to the latest figures from the FNAIM, the national federation for estate agents in the country and is forecast to drop by 2% in 2013. However, property in the Rhône-Alps is continuing to increase in popularity resulting in increased demand and sales. A study of property market trends published at the end of 2012 by the Chambre Interdépartementale des Notaires de la Savoie et de la Haute-Savoie found that the region is weathering the economic storm and continues to appeal to overseas buyers as a second-home destination. Lake Annecy property prices remain higher than the national average with property nearer the lake being the most expensive with chalets and villas easily commanding over 2 million Euros.
Due to it popularity both in winter and summer, Lake Annecy property is an attractive investment; there is a strong rental market which although high all year around, typically peaks in the winter with properties near the lake or closer to the ski slopes commanding a premium rental price. The choice of Lake Annecy property is diverse and suits all pockets and tastes ranging from exclusive lakeside chalets built in the traditional wooden Savoyard style, country houses with gardens and swimming pools, traditional half-timbered and stone town houses and modern apartments.
Traditional log chalets on the eastern side of the lake in villages such as Talloires enjoy charming locations with their own beaches and you can commute to Annecy by steamer!
These properties command premiums prices but as they are closer to the ski slopes they will also generate higher rental income.
Dotted around the lake are secluded country houses with traditional wooden beamed ceilings, flagstone floors, open fires and beautiful gardens with views of the lake. Some also have their own private swimming pools. If you want to live in town within walking distance of the shops and restaurants, then you might be lucky and find a traditional half-timbered house in the Old Town which has preserved its original timber frame.
In the town, over 90% of the accommodation are apartments so finding one to suit your taste and pocket is not going to be difficult. Many have terraces and balconies with traditional open fire places and the majority are large and spacious with all modern amenities and parking.
Lake Annecy property provides investors with the perfect opportunity to buy a timeless piece of real estate in one of the most beautiful areas in the French Alps. Whether you decide to buy a traditional wooden chalet or a modern apartment, Lake Annecy property prices have remained upbeat and competitive compared with much of the rest of France.
It is easy to see why this area of the French Alps is so popular and why Lake Annecy makes a perfect holiday and investment destination.
Guide to the French Buying Process
1. Signing the Agreement (Compris)
On finding a property you wish to purchase you will need to negotiate the terms, price and conditions of the sale with the owner. The next step, once you are in agreement, is to sign the preliminary contract (Compromis de Vente). This is a legal document and after ten days will be binding on both parties. Rules change frequently in France and it is best to consult with your notary about when this period starts. Generally the compris will be signed in France with the Agent. Variants can be included in the compris, for example an Acte (clause) can be added if the name or names to go on the title deed have not been finalised. If a mortgage will be required to purchase the property, the details for this, including the name of the mortgage company, must be on the compris.
2. Paying the Deposit
Generally the deposit will be 10% of the agreed purchase price. This will normally be paid to the notaire. There are exceptions to this, if the agent holds a carte professionelle, is bonded and fully registered then you may pay them, but do not hand over the deposit to anyone else. If for some reason the purchase does not go through, for example, if you write to the notaire and the agent that you do not wish to go continue with the purchase before the contract is binding (within seven days of signing the compris), then your deposit would be repaid. This would also apply if a condition had not been met, or the mayor or S.A.F.E.R. (a government agency that has the right of first purchase on most rural property that comes onto the market in France) could oblige the purchaser to give way. If you decide after the seven days 'cooling off' period that you do not wish to complete the purchase and pull out of the sale you would lose your deposit. If however the vendor pulls out of the sale then you will receive your deposit back plus the same amount from the vendor.
3. On Completion
Generally it will take around two or three months to complete the purchase. During this time the balance of the purchase money must be paid into the account of the notaire, this must be done well ahead of the completion date. The notaire will prepare the documents, check that the deed of sale (Acte de Vente) is in order and have the legal title ready to be signed over. It is possible to have someone sign on your behalf if you give them power of attorney. An interpreter may be of use at this point if your French is not very good and many Notaires will suggest (or insist) that an interpreter is with you.
IMPORTANT - Disclaimer :
All information provided is believed to be current and provided free of charge. No liability can be accepted for the reliability of the information and statements made as this is obtained from 3rd parties. We always recommend you take legal advice from a fully qualified Lawyer or Notary before buying a property overseas.
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