Aix en Provence Property Market and Real Estate Guide

(Aix en Provence, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France, FR))

Scenic view of Aix en ProvenceAix en Provence lies in magnificent surroundings near the River Arc, some 30 km / 19 miles north of the coastal city of Marseille in southwestern France. Provence is one of the loveliest regions of France, boasting a Mediterranean climate with a seemingly endless supply of sunshine. Beloved by artists, Aix en Provence has a vibrant cultural scene including a famous opera festival, museums, architectural gems and an excellent transport network.

The city's downtown contains the pedestrianised Old City, with its 16th- to 18th-century mansions - many converted for multiple occupation, several squares and narrow cobbled streets lined with three-storey terraces. Under and above-ground car parks are located on Boulevard Exterieur, the one-way mini-ring road encircling the historic area.

Bisecting the city is Cours Mirabeau, a wide boulevard following the line of the ancient city walls. The new town expands to the west and the south, with modern buildings and homes. Just south of Cours Mirabeau is the Mazarin district with its imposing 17th century townhouses and heritage buildings.

As a result of the popularity of Aix en Provence as a residential location, its proximity to the French Riviera and its three-hour TGV express access to Paris, property prices are similar to those in the capital and the UK's London suburbs, although less expensive homes can be found in nearby villages. Popularity with investors is another reason for the 120 percent increase in prices since 1999, as Aix has a strong and stable rental market showing good returns.

Renting Serviced Apartments

Although many rental apartments in Aix en Provence are very much aimed at holiday makers, several companies offer long-term serviced apartments, often located in historic building conversions that have been upgraded to international standards.

Aparthotels are another option, providing the facilities of a hotel with the privacy of an apartment, and are located in attractive areas. Charges for long-term rentals are cheaper than those for comparative hotels.

Buying Apartments and Houses

There are no restrictions in France on foreign property ownership. Your realtor will negotiate an agreed price with the seller, with the mandatory assistance of a notaire (lawyer).

The initial contract, signed by both parties, is legally binding. The notary will hold the deposit (normally 10 percent), and once the final agreement is signed and the deeds are passed over and the land registered, the balance of the purchase price is paid. Service charges are roughly 12 percent of the purchase price.

New-build property attracts VAT of 19.6 percent of the purchase price. However, if full-time occupancy is not required, this can be avoided via a leaseback scheme, allowing the renting out of the property as a holiday let. Given the good returns on letting in Aix en Provence, this proves an extremely popular option.

Real Estate Agents

A number of real estate agents show properties in Aix en Provence, from UK-registered companies to local businesses. Most are either native English-speakers or have English-speaking staff, as the area is popular with expats and second-home buyers.

Check out the following Aix en Provence real estate agents:

Property Investments Provence
Address: 4 Rue de Saurier, Aix en Provence, F-13510, France, FR
Tel: +33 04 42 92 51 55
This agency has bilingual staff and deals with all types of property in and around Aix.

Propriété Charme Provence
Address: 642 Avenue Fortuné Ferrini, Aix en Provence, F-13090, France, FR
Tel: +33 06 85 18 21 31
This agency specialises in unusual properties in Aix and its surroundings.

Claire Deedman Provence Ltd
Address: Chemin de Tire Corde, Auriol, Marseille, F-13390, France, FR
Tel: +33 04 42 92 45 44
This UK-registered agency, located in nearby Marseille, has a good selection of Provence properties.