French property news: Getting a property loan extension and dealing with noisy neighbours

French property village
Photo: Sebastian Bozon/AFP
From interest-free property loans, to noise laws in the countryside and an invitation to Nice, here is our weekly French property roundup.

Interest-free loans

The 2022 Budget is making its way through the French parliament, and now contains several measures to make buying or renovating property in France easier.

Included in the budget are extensions to interest-free loans for buying or renovating property, as well as a loan scheme for people in certain areas who want to renovate and then rent out property.

READ ALSO 3 ways the 2022 Budget makes it easier to buy or rent French property

‘Crisis is behind us’

After a difficult 18 months, French real estate agents have declared that “the crisis seems to be behind us”.

While lockdown made moving house largely impossible, the property market has picked up in recent months, with the health crisis even creating new markets, as people move out of the cities to get more space in rural areas.

Even within the office rental sector, which many feared would be hard-hit by ongoing trends for remote working, agents say demand is returning in the cities.

Let’s move to . . . Nice

The southern French city of Nice has a lot of obvious attractions, not least that it is the sunniest metropolis in France. But in addition to its beautiful architecture, world-famous seafront and great weather there are some other good reasons to move there, one of which is that it consistently tops polls for being among the most welcoming places in France for new arrivals.

And for Brits there is the added fact that it is the ‘most British’ town in France – that’s according to the mayor, who in 2019 wrote this delightful essay celebrating his city’s links with the UK.

Rural noises

If you prefer more of a rural location, it’s probably best not to complain about the noises and smells you encounter.

France now has a law to protect its ‘rural heritage’ which includes traditional noises like church bells,  crowing cockerels and frogs mating, as well as some of the smells that you might encounter in the countryside.

The law came after a series of legal cases where people sued their neighbours over noise or smells from animals, or lodged complaints about noisy church bells.

French property vocab

Urbanisme is key. If you’re planning a building or renovation project, then the Plan locale d’urbanisme could be an important document. This is a local policy document that sets out things like which areas can be built on and which are business and residential zones.

Not all areas have these, but if you’re buying with the intention of changing something – whether it’s an extension, a new build or converting a barn into a home – make sure you check first whether it will be allowed according to the local plan.

Property tip of the week 

If you’re buying an old property it’s highly likely that the windows will need replacing to eliminate drafts – but if you’re replacing old, ill-fitting windows with modern double-glazed ones then this will increase the energy efficiency of your property, and could mean you’re entitled to one of France’s many eco grants to cover at least some of the cost.

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