Pas de Calais Property
Trickle soft, golden sand through your toes as you stroll beneath the soaring white chalk cliffs of the Opal Coast; explore the medieval ramparts and Flemish inspired baroque architecture of fortified towns and castles nestling in the woody valleys and rolling green plains of unspoilt, rural countryside; wander through local markets in picturesque fishing villages before dining on freshly caught fish or seafood; enjoy the costumes and merriment of local festivals and carnivals celebrating their legends and historic legacies – all washed down by cool and refreshing locally brewed beer. Located just 32km across the English Channel, Pas-de-Calais is France’s most northern region and one of contrasts; ranging from the bustling Channel ports of Calais and Boulogne to elegant holiday resorts such as le Touquet and Montreuil and medieval fortified towns set in rural and unspoilt countryside. Within easy commuting distance of London and the South Coast of England, Pas-de-Calais property offers shrewd investors the ideal opportunity to own or rent property in an up and coming area in one of the world’s most stable property markets.
Pas de Calais Immobilier
Inhabited since prehistoric times, the Pas-de-Calais region has in turn been occupied by the Celts, the Romans and the Franks and seen both World Wars at first hand. Yet both the Pas-de-Calais region itself and Pas-de-Calais property remain largely undiscovered - either ignored by travelers speeding through to Paris on trains from London or seen by day-trippers just as a place to top up on cheap alcohol and cigarettes. They are all missing a trick. Increased investment by the French government in the region means that Pas de Calais property is forecast to take off in the near future, and this combined with advantageous mortgage rates and reduced property prices means that the prospect of owning a home across the Channel is becoming even more achievable.
The Pas-de-Calais region combines elegant seaside resorts with inland fortified towns, each with their own particular charm and interests. Le Touquet-Paris-Plage was the place to go to between the wars for both wealthy Parisians and the English aristocracy. Today is it still considered one of the most elegant resorts in Northern France; its luxury hotels, golf courses and spectacular beach attracting wealthy visitors from the rest of France and abroad. Browse the designer boutiques and mouth-watering food shops; try your hand at sand yachting at low tide on the wide and sandy beach or enjoy the local cuisine at one of the many chic bistros and restaurants.
A little further inland is charming Montreuil-sur-Mer. A weaving maze of narrow cobbled streets and fine old geranium-bedecked houses, this peaceful town is almost completely contained within 16th-century walls and sits atop a hill with fine views of the surrounding countryside. Walk around the Ville Haute on the tree-shaded ramparts and take in the views of the wooded valley below and rolling plains beyond or discover pretty little squares and sit at one of the outside bars for your pre-dinner apéritif.
Arras is the region’s capital and famous for its stunning Flemish baroque style squares - the Grande Place and the Place des Héros - which are surrounded by buildings largely restored to their pre-war World War I conditions after being reduced to rubble during the fighting. The 75m high town hall belfry is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers panoramic views of the town and for art lovers the Fine Arts Museum houses one of the most impressive collections of French and Dutch Masters outside of Paris.
St-Omer is a delightful market town, surrounded by marshlands criss-crossed with a network of intricate canals. Its Basilica, dating from the 13th to 15th centuries, is remarkable, for being the only intact Gothic church north of Paris and for housing a famous Rubens painting of Christ being removed from the cross as well as an incredible astrological clock, said to be one of the oldest clocks in France, dating from 1558, and showing days, months, signs of the Zodiac and, of course, the time. Wander around the weekly Friday market bursting with flowers and local fruit and vegetables or explore the surrounding Audomarois marshes with its abundance of flora and fauna.
Pas de Calais Property
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. Pas-de-Calais property was no exception and prices fell by an average of 6% providing investors with excellent opportunities to snap up properties at good prices. Pas-de-Calais property prices vary across the region with Le Touquet and to a lesser extent, Montreuil being more expensive, for example, than the area around Arras or St Omar.
The choice of Pas-de-Calais property is extensive ranging from luxurious villas and stylish townhouses to traditional cottages and farmhouses.
Elegant ‘Art Deco’ villas are highly sought after along the Opal Coast, either hidden away in the forest or close to the beach with fabulous sea views. Built in the 1920s style with generous proportions, large bay windows and wonderfully light rooms, most have mature gardens and private parking.
Stylish townhouses with pretty enclosed courtyards or gardens are ideal for those wanting to step out of their front door and have everything on their doorstep. Often built in red or brown brick with sloping tiled roofs and some dating back to the 17th century – these houses offer the perfect private retreat.
For something more rural, country cottages or farmhouses are the ideal choice. Much sought after for their character and traditional stone build, farmhouses typically have outbuildings such as barns or stables and often come with a generous parcel of land or a closed courtyard. Often retaining their original charm of authentic floor tiles, wooden beams and wide stone walls, some will have all modern facilities and comforts and others will offer the challenge to be renovated into your ideal home!
The region of Pas-de-Calais is one of France’s best kept secrets; boasting a fine gastronomic tradition and strong cultural heritage, it combines miles of spectacular cliff-top coastline with rolling green hills, wooded valleys and sparkling rivers. Just under an hour’s travel from the English coast, investing in Pas-de-Calais property is a wise investment for those wishing to own a little piece of France.
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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