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Low Cost Of Entry, Guaranteed Yield, And Financing In The South Of France

In the heart of Provence, the village of Aubignan sits among the vineyards of Cotes-du-Rhone wine country on the gentle slopes between Mont Ventoux and the limestone spires of the Dentelles de Montmirail, a half-hour from Avignon and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

This is the crossroads between Avignon and Carpentras and only a short distance from the villages of Beaumes de Venise, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, l’Islesur-la-Sorgue, and Pernes-les-Fontaines (the town with 40 fountains).

Here is being built one of the most appealing French leaseback properties I’ve seen. Scheduled for completion the end of this year, Les Demeures du Ventouxis a combination leaseback and residential development of semi-detached bastides (country houses) in seven clusters surrounding a central village square. The far-reaching views are of Mont Ventoux to the north and the Dentelles de Montmirail to the west, and the development is surrounded by vineyards and woodland. It sits just 500 meters (10 minutes walk) from the center of Aubignan village.

Aubignan, surrounded still in parts by its 14th-century ramparts, is known for its semi-Gothic, semi-Romanesque church. This is a typical French country village…the kind of place where time seems to have stood still for hundreds of years and where life carries on today as it has for centuries.

Surrounded by fields of lavender and grape vines, little Aubignan has all the markings of quintessential French country living…with a busy shopping street, a weekly market, celebrations and festivals related to the annual grape harvest, plus art exhibitions, concerts, and, in nearby Orange, an annual summer opera festival.

The lively market town of Carpentras is 5 kilometers away. This is the place to come to shop for the produce of the farmers of the Ventoux plains, from peaches, melons, pears, apricots, cherries, and, of course, grapes to honey, lavender, pottery, and the famous Carpentras truffle, the Black Diamond, selling for 700 euro a kilo. The early-morning fresh truffles market at Carpentras is something to see.

A short drive to the south, and you’re at the beaches of Languedoc. To the east is the national Luberon park with its white-water sports activities, climbing, hiking, etc. Travel a little farther, and you come to the Alpes de Haute Provence, with its ski resorts and cities such as Gap and Sisteron. West takes you into the Languedoc and the cities of Nîmes and Montpellier.

The Les Demeures du Ventoux property is the project of a leading Languedoc developer with a talent for finding exceptional locations. It’s to be managed by an operator with a strong nationwide reputation.

If you’re not familiar with the French leaseback program, here’s how this works:

When you invest in a leaseback property (like this Les Demeures du Ventoux development in Provence), you’re not only investing in your eventual retirement pied-a-terre, you’re also guaranteeing yourself a reliable annual yield. The amount of the yield varies leaseback to leaseback. Typical yields today are 3% to 4%. However, in the case of Les Demeures du Ventoux, the guaranteed yield from rental is 5.1% to 5.3% a year for the nine years of the leaseback contract. In today’s climate, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Furthermore, when you buy, the value-added tax (VAT) is rebated, meaning you save 19.6% off the list price. This is a long-term play, as you must commit to lease your property back to the rental management group for nine years. However, again, in the current climate, locking in nine years of guaranteed yields doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. And, at the end of the nine years, you walk away with your own retirement home in France.

Looking at the photos of Aubignan and the surrounding region, it’s hard to imagine a prettier, more pleasant place to retire.

The Les Demeures du Ventoux property will include an aqua-park area with three swimming pools, a bar, and a sun deck, a fitness center, and a “health run” through the woodlands. Plus there’ll be a spa, a sauna, and a sports ground (for boules and volleyball).

Across the main road leading to Aubignan is the Canal de Carpentras, a small canal no longer in use that leads to the nearby Canal du Midi along an 11-kilometer pathway that’s a great place for walking and biking.

You can choose from one- and two-bedroom units, each with parking and a terrace. Living area is Euro-size–34 square meters for the one-bedroom and 49 to 60 square meters for the two. Every unit comes fully furnished, at no additional charge, and with free Internet access and cable TV.

The leaseback program requires that you hand the property over to the management company for rental for a term of nine years. However, you can arrange some personal use during that period (say two, four, or eight weeks a year). This would reduce your annual yield.

These units are appealingly priced, especially given the current dollar-euro exchange rate. The one-bedrooms are 91,100 euro; the 49-square-meter two-bedroom units are 125,000 euro; and the 60-square-meter two-bedrooms are 150,000 euro, again, in each case, including furnishings.

Bottom line, this is an exceptional opportunity to own a fully serviced, fully turn-key property in one of the loveliest areas of Provence. The yield is as good as you’re going to get in this part of the world, and you’re locking it in for nine years. Plus you’ve got flexible options for personal use, and the purchase price is super-reasonable.

If you’ve dreamed of retirement in the South of France, this is a hassle-free, highly affordable, and yield-producing way to make that happen.

Here’s the cherry on top: Foreigners can finance in France. A friend in the mortgage business in this country reports that French banks, which had pulled back a few months ago and become more restrictive in their lending policies, especially toward foreign buyers, are loosening up. You could borrow up to 90% LTV.

Kathleen Peddicord

 

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