Limousin Property Insight
With around 730,000 inhabitants for a surface of 17,000 km2, Limousin is the second least populated region of France. It is made up of three departments: Corrèze, Creuse and Haute-Vienne.
Limousin is almost entirely an upland area and there are numerous important rivers such as the Dordogne, Vienne, Creuse and Cher. This central region offers a plenty of clear rivers, wooded hills and medieval villages: in other terms, beautiful landscapes that inspired many impressionist painters during the 19th century. This abundant countryside and fresh air, linked to the extremely attractive property prices, explain why so many Dutch and English people bought properties in Limousin in recent years.
Largely undiscovered, Limousin is however rich in history and tradition. Indeed, it is filled with lovely castles and ancient churches. Its stunning natural beauty is due to its valleys, ravines, rivers and forests. Also known as the region of “1,000 lakes”, it provides many activities for those who like great outdoors. Walking, riding, fishing, canoeing and sailing are only few examples of the range of activities you can practise there.
People in Limousin have a strong regional culture. They continue to speak the Limousin dialect, however the latter tends to disappear. It is more common for the oldest people to speak Limousin than the youngest. Hopefully, the Limousin dialect is now taught to children in some specialized schools, to keep this heritage lively. Of course, gastronomy is also highly developed. Specialities make use of local produce such as fruit and meat. One major pride of the region is the Limousine, a dark brown cow. It produces fine meat and leather, and thus is internationally renowned.
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Limousin Immobilier & Property Market Trends
The Limousin Property Market was quite successful in 2007, for example in terms of new build. Unfortunately, there has been a reversal of the tendency with the general slowdown of the property market in France.
For now Limousin is one of the regions where this slowdown is the most felt. But let us add the following: this slowdown is not tangible everywhere in the region. The main cities of Limousin, Brive and Limoges are not concerned by this slowdown. In Limoges for example, the average price of a house at the beginning of 2009 was around €1,700/s qm, superior to the average price of the Haute-Vienne department where it is located.
The rental price in Limoges is more than €10/ sq m. Around 9% of properties are vacant, which means that a great choice is offered to find a real dream property.
Thus, buy to let in this Limousin region can be a very good option as it is a little-known area of France but full of assets such as outstanding landscapes and tradition and a preserved culture. This region remains a good option if you are looking for countryside, tranquillity and peace for a cheaper property in France.
To get updated information about the house prices in the Aquitaine region, please browse our French Property market reports published in the News Section every month.
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5 Reasons to Buy a Property in Limousin
Limousin is incredibly appreciated by the British and the Dutch, who discovered its unspoilt nature and cheap stone properties some years ago. They were impressed by all the assets this rural region has to offer and enjoy the peaceful life there.
- Tranquillity: Limousin is one of the most rural regions in the country and thus is perfect for those looking for serenity and unspoilt landscapes. This rural beauty will definitely be appreciated by everyone willing to escape the crowd of big cities.
- Return on investment: properties and living costs are a lot cheaper than in neighbouring regions. There is still plenty of run-down or deserted property to be found there, perfect for those keen on searching for restoration projects. As it becomes more and more sought-after, prices in Limousin will certainly increase slightly. However buying a property in Limousin is a good investment.
- Transport: for a long time, transport in the Limousin has been a burning issue, mainly due to its difficult position (almost only surrounded by the Massif Central mountain range). Fortunately, the situation has highly improved recently with the opening of the motorways A20 - Paris to Toulouse - and the A89 - Bordeaux. The last decade can also be characterised by a large increase of the air traffic (Limoges’ airport), with the creation of several routes from and to the United Kingdom for instance. It is possible to use many low cost direct flights from Liverpool, London Stansted, Newcastle, Nottingham, Southampton, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Dublin to get to Limousin! The construction of another airport has also begun in late 2005 in Brive.
- Employment: in recent years the impoverished Limousin has been the focus of economic development initiatives and many companies have been offered incentives and subsidies to settle there. All these new activities, combined with cheap properties, mean that this is potentially a good place for newcomers on the look-out for employment opportunities and a peaceful, green living environment. In other regions such as the Pays de la Loire, the quality of life has been identified as a major asset to attract engineers.
- Gastronomy: the gastronomy of Limousin can be characterised as rustic. It uses good local produce such as apples, chestnuts, potatoes or meat for example. Their specialities include soups, some main dishes often made with potatoes, but also mouth-watering desserts as the clafoutis, made with cherries and covered with pancake paste.
Property Styles and Architecture in Limousin
Limousin architecture and house types: there are mainly rural houses in this region, but they are not lacking character at all.
- Limousin half-timbered houses: half-timbering style is a medieval technique. Roofs are slated or covered with local stone. A wooden structure is built over a stone wall. It protects the house from humidity and fire. Half-timbering houses in Limousin have wide windows.
- Limousin manor houses: manoirs are very luxurious, made of Granite and these properties are generally fortified. The house often has two chimneys as a minimum as well as towers (in fact being old dovecotes) that give it even more prestige.
- Perigord houses: there are several different types of Perigord houses across the former historic province of Perigord. Throughout this area, the local material used to build property varies widely and so do the aspect, character and design of the houses.
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