COVID 19 still has the world in a tight grip. But what does it mean in practice if you would like to buy a second home in the South of France? As of March 2020, no one knew precisely what the “killer virus” would do. As a precaution, France was one of the first countries to go into a complete lockdown. Construction projects came to a halt, and real estate sales ceased abruptly. Notaries closed their doors, everyone worked from home, and only supermarkets did profitable business with online shopping.
Seeing life more clearly
No one was allowed to leave their home unless you presented a signed statement with a valid reason to the supervising police. Planes stayed on the ground, and we rediscovered the silence of nature. The Mediterranean sea became bluer than ever, and the clean air gave us the sharpness to contemplate our own lives.
A temporary lockdown has been good for something. People ran into themselves and asked personal life questions. Some decided to choose another job or to look for more freedom. “Am I satisfied where I live now, and with my life if a lockdown would suddenly last a year?”
This question has puzzled many people: “Suppose I can no longer change my life in terms of place of residence or work, am I satisfied with where I am now? Or should I have bought that second home in the South of France before? ”
Just before the summer, France released the restrictions and normal life got back on track. The sale of villas and apartments had some quiet months to catch up. And that happened at an overwhelming pace; home sales on the French Riviera reached a considerable boost.
Lots of properties got sold, not to buying English, Americans, Dutch or Germans, but by the French themselves. Residents from Paris and Lyon, in particular, realized during the lockdown that having a second home on the French Riviera coast is a smart investment.
Usually, the French spend much money on exotic holiday destinations such as Tahiti or Seychelles. They save for that all year round. But the COVID-19 travel restrictions and the uncertainty of whether you could fly back on time, has made many people decide to buy a second home in the South of France.
On holiday in your own country
If you had to go into lockdown, then you might as well go to your second home and enjoy the sun and a daily walk along the sea or through the Alps. Those who were not wealthy enough to buy a house or an apartment on the Cote d’Azur went on holiday in their own country and rented an apartment or a villa. Also, because of President Macron who gave the urgent travel advice: “Spend your money on local French businesses, they can use your support.”
Local rental management partners of ours have never had such a good season; all villas and apartments have been rented to the local population this year. We saw many local tourists in cars with number plates from almost all French regions.
That is the strength of France; the country is self-sufficient in many areas; energy, food, cars, luxury goods and also tourism. The French can find everything in their own country. And buy it.
Investing in uncertain COVID-19 times
The purchase of a southern French villa or an apartment is a smart investment in an uncertain future. Interest rates remain low and French banks are willing to grant a mortgage of up to 50 or 60%. With the second home on the Cote d’Azur you have three options:
You can always fly there yourself to recover from all the stress in your home country. There are no restrictions behind the front door on how many people are allowed to sit at your table. So your family and friends are welcome too. In daily life, almost nothing has changed. People go out for dinner, enjoy lunch on the beach and only in the shops we wear a mouth mask – for as long as it lasts. But continuing to enjoy life is paramount; a chat in the market, a walk through the mountains or along the sea is the best medicine against any virus.
Rental of southern French house
You can also offer your home in the South of France to a rental company that takes care of everything; marketing, finding reliable tenants plus cleaning and key handover. On average, you pay about 23-26% of the rent to such a company. They neatly transfer the money from the earned income every month.
Due to the increasing interest from our own country, reservations are being made for 2021. If travel restrictions are lifted, the market is open to tourists from the rest of the world.
Finally, owning a second home on the Cote d’Azur gives you inner peace and positive strength. If you are stuck in traffic at home or in a boring meeting anywhere, your thoughts might wander to your own little cottage in the South of France. That alone gives much energy: you know why you work. And ultimately for whom.
The knowledge that you and no one else owns a home in the South of France and that you can decide at any time of the day to go to that most beautiful place on Earth; that in itself is a wealthy and comforting thought.
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COVID has divided the world into supporters and opponents. Proponents are begging for a vaccine that will ultimately save the world. Opponents point to the most recent WHO report calculating mortality under 70 of 0.05%. That makes COVID less deadly than severe flu.