Demand exceeds supply for rural country homes in France

Where you work and where you want to live are not always the same and yet in the past, most of us have had to live where the work is or at least compromise by either enduring an uncomfortable and long commute from where we want to live to where we work or sacrificing a garden and space and often quality of life for a shorter commute.

This has suddenly all changed for many people who discovered home working (or WFH as it seems to have become) because of Covid restrictions. Many will never need to go back to the office environment and others are now ‘flexi-working’ which can mean either going into the office once or twice a week or maybe just once or twice a month or only for occasional meetings. For all categories, proximity to the office is now a much lower priority and, unshackled from commitments to a physical workplace, many people are changing how and where they live.

Which could explain why the property market here in rural France is experiencing a mini-boom and a distinct lack of good properties for sale. The very sudden and profound transformation in how we work has translated very quickly into a change in the type of property that is in demand. Those city centre flats or suburban/edge of town developments are suddenly no longer so sought-after. The majority of people are now looking for more space and greater home comforts and hence large properties in the middle of the countryside with plenty of rooms and/or outbuildings for offices and with big gardens are at a premium and selling very fast.

The difference in property prices between city and countryside adds to the appeal; most of the time, moving from city to country means gaining twice the space inside and out for the same price with money left over. This price differential may be the first thing to change though if property values are shifting, in which case, it looks likely that prices will follow with rising property prices in the countryside and falling prices in the suburbs and city centres; a trend not seen for generations.

Is this likely to be a permanent change? It is probably too soon to tell. One thing is certain though; work has undergone a huge shift and, where work leads, lives tend to follow.

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