Allier is a department of the Auvergne region of France (centre). The prefecture of the department is Moulins. The total population is 343,309 inhabitants. Its name comes from the eponymous River Allier. The French département was created from the former province called Bourbonnais. It is bordered with Cher, Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire, Loire, Puy-de-Dôme and Creuse.
Some dialects are spoken in the department, such as the Bourbonnais and Auvergnat. Allier is also home to three thermal towns: Bourbon-l'Archambault, Néris-les-Bains and Vichy. Located at the centre of France, Allier constitutes a real frontier between the north and the south of the country. The climate there is mild and humid. The relief can be divided as follows:
With more than 10 % of second homes, the area is the ideal location to spend his holidays or his retirement days. It indeed goes hand in hand with a soothing tranquillity and a pleasant lifestyle within a green and preserved environment. The department is notably an attractive location for foreigners such as English, Belgians, Swiss and Dutch. Most of them bought a property in the department, renovated it and used it as second or main home. Such a population has added some inestimable cultural value to Allier. For instance, the town of Pouzy-Mesangy welcomed English and Swiss new residents. The population density has however remained quite low with only 46.77 inhabitants per square metre, which lets the locals plenty of space to fully blossom.
Property prices in the Allier department are affordable and quite low. Indeed, a property there is sold €1,180 /sq m on average in 2009. Compared with the national average of €3,197 /sq m, it may be worth investing in the area. Furthermore, Allier has many assets such as gorgeous scenery, quietness, good food and so on. As far as rentals are concerned, houses and apartments are rented €7.12 /sq m a month in Allier against €12.22 /sq m a month in France on average. Thus, if you can’t afford to buy a property in France, renting a house or an apartment will cost you very few!
The housing stock is made of 73 % houses and only 25 % apartments; most of the dwellings have at least three bedrooms and the average area is 126sq m. As regards prices, they vary according to the nature of the real estate. You can count on average €1,353 /sq m for a villa, €1,553 /sq m for an apartment and €2,051 /sq m for a farmhouse. This latter type of property has seen its prices increase by almost 20 % this last year; whereas as far as the whole department is concerned, housing prices have stayed relatively stable.
To get updated info about property prices in Allier, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
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Zen attitude: let alone the prevailing peaceful lifestyle, Allier has many Zen activities on offer. Its three thermal towns have made the best of their natural assets to provide the visitors with spa stations and are dedicated to health and relaxation. The miraculous waters of Allier bring indescribable beneficial effects on both body and mind. Well-being has definitely pride of place in this department.
Tourism – sights: as exposed previously, Allier is an attractive place amongst foreigners, which implies that the department offers good investing opportunities. Tourism plays an important role in the economy of the department, and it could be interesting to buy and let a property there. Furthermore, it infers continuous developments in terms of facilities and improvements of the life surroundings.
Greenery and scenery: located at the entrance door of the Massif Central, the Allier department is home to seven natural areas. The latter offer diversified landscapes: hedged farmlands, mountains, plains, valleys amongst others. Furthermore, the Allier River is deemed to be one of the wildest rivers of Europe. Why not discovering this amazing scenery buying a property in Allier?
Pastilles de Vichy: these sweets are internationally renowned and are the proud of both Allier and Vichy. The pastilles were made for the first time in 1825 and their success is still unfailing. They have digestive as well as refreshing properties for they indeed contain thermal waters from the town. What a treat when you can combine health and gustative pleasure! Different flavours are to taste: mint, lemon or anise. Yummy!
Apart from traditional dwellings such as town houses, apartments or detached houses which have no particular architectural style, Allier houses some typical properties:
Farmhouses: Allier being located in the countryside, many farmhouses are on offer in the department. They may be of all sizes but almost always come with outbuildings, large land and courtyard. They are constructed of cheap and simple materials, as the farmers are not deemed to be well-off people. Some of them are renovated but others would need some works.
Maisons Bourgeoises and chateaux: prestigious properties in Allier may be bought. They are massive and luxury. They have a huge land planted with trees, swimming-pool, outbuildings such as cottages courtyard and so on. They are dedicated to well-off people as they can be quite expensive. Some of them are very old (14th century), but they are always full of charm and character.
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