Australians are buying chateaux and manor houses in France, for the same price as a boring four-bedroom house in our burbs. The strength of the Australian dollar and gloomy property prices in France are main factors. Gaelle Perreaux, property services manager at French property specialists FrenchEntrée has been widely quoted in Australian media saying interest in buying in the romantic European nation is at an all-time high. It’s almost cheaper to buy a chateau.
The central heating bills aren’t romantic. Imagine how much it would cost to warm a rambling mansion with eight bedrooms, five bathrooms, vaulted ceilings and draughts whistling under every 17th Century door? And the cost of renovations? You could slap another few hundred thousand euros on top.
Real estate prices in Australia are often a joke. You’ll get a shack in Sydney for $A300,000. Most people aim above $500,000 to find something livable in a good area. Queensland and other states are more reasonably priced, although Perth in Western Australia has sky high prices thanks to the mining boom. Country areas are cheaper, of course, with some small towns far from essential services. You could drive all day to get to a dental appointment.
Here’s some properties I found on the Frenchentree real estate site for about the same price as a modest suburban house in Australia.
- Saint-Martin-de-Cenilly, Bass-Normandie 477,000 euros ($A600,971). A beautifully restored and tastefully decorated 18th century chateau with 8139 sqm of land together with a substantial barn with potential for conversion, a tennis court and a fabulous avenue of trees and private driveway to the property.
- Nièvre, Bourgogne, 450,000 euros ($566,954). Elegant maison built in 1830, with surrounding outbuildings. A spacious and superbly presented six-bedroom detached family residence, situated on the edge of a village with all amenities. Only two hours from Paris.
- Regence Château in Berry, 320,000 euros ($403,167). At this price, you know it will be a “renovator’s dream”. This chateau has been enlarged over the centuries, has two wings forming the courtyard. It has three apartments, a barn, atelier, cellars, a moat and a lake. And it’s miles from anywhere.
- Tarn-et-Garonne, Midi-Pyrènèes, 450,000 euros ($566,954). Nine bedrooms, extensive vaulted rooms in stone, and 1.904m2 of land. Needs restoration. About half an hour’s drive to Montauban and one hour to Toulouse and the International airport at Blagnac.
The website details the highs and lows of living in France: French food, drink, culture and the climate are great; while red tape, cost of living and unemployment are not. A lot of people moving to France are aged between 50-65.