A picturesque Normandy village with a declining population is selling land for 1 euro (71 pence) per square metre in the hope of attracting new residents.
Champ-du-Boult, a community of only 388 people, a quarter of whom are British, has put four municipally owned plots of 900 to 1,000 square metres up for sale.
OK, that’s nice Lovely part of the world at least. And the Normans are very much better to live amongst than the French.
The cost of building a modest house would be about 1,300 euros per square metre of living space.
Hmm, maybe, a little high I would have thought. But right order of magnitude at least. But the problem is, why would you want to go and lose money in this manner?
The municipality has also put a stone house of 150 square metres on the market for only 55,000 euros (less than £40,000). It is the former residence of the headmaster of the village school, which closed three years ago.
You can get the house and the land for a quarter of the price of a new build. And this is a basic point about areas that are depopulating. I see it here in Northern Bohemia (and in the Algarve as well recently). It’s not just that a new build isn’t worth it but it can be entirely possible for a renovation not even to be worth it. There’s whole blocks of this town you can have for €1 a unit. Not worth it as the renovation costs would be more expensive than buying an already refurbed unit elsewhere in town.
This is just what happens with depopulation. Some part of the extant property base will have a negative value.
A Normandy cottage at €55k sounds great. Buying land and building one for €195k doesn’t sound so good when extant ones are going for that quarter of the price.