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The market for longer term lets


The market for longer term lets

The market for longer term lets

France is a large country with a wonderfully varied landscape and it is one of the most popular countries in the world for tourism. It is hardly surprising then, that so many French tend to holiday in their homeland. There are hundreds of thousands of gîtes spread throughout France to help accommodate all these visitors. The main summer season does, however, tend to be quite short, sometimes running only to 10 weeks or so. Even the municipal campsites close in mid September. Many French property rental owners would like to extend their season to help maximise the return on their investment. But how to achieve this if you are not based in a winter sports area where skiing or snowboarding can bring in off-season trade? One possibility is by taking on longer term lets.

How long is a long let? For our purposes, I am using 'long-term let' or 'long-term rental' to cover any rental lasting one month or more. Most of these rentals are furnished and the most common rental period probably runs to several months. Longer winter rentals are particularly popular with owners and tenants. Owners can enjoy the higher weekly revenues from peak season summer holidays and then extend their season throughout the rest of the year with longer term lets. Tenants are also keen to snap up long winter rentals as the monthly rates tend to be much less than during the peak season.

Good demand also exists for furnished lets running up to a year. Beyond this time frame the rentals sought tend to be unfurnished, here different regulations apply and the minimum lease normally runs for 3 years.

So, who are all these people looking for longer rentals? House hunters from Northern Europe and further afield often take the sensible approach and look to rent in their chosen area before committing to a purchase. (Attempting to purchase a new permanent home while on a two week holiday is not for the faint hearted.) Folks waiting for their house to be built or renovated are also looking to rent for periods running from months to one year. An irony is that many of those looking to purchase in France intend renting out their own property and thus adding to the supply of gîte accommodation.

Aside from this, there are workers moving for contracts, professionals looking for time out, sabbaticals, writers and artists seeking a suitable venue and holiday makers simply looking for an extended period in France. Spain and Portugal have been popular for years with retirees spending the winter months in the sun. There is a sizeable market in France also.

The unfurnished market is particularly popular with the French themselves where they are looking for a permanent main residence. Many of these unfurnished properties are advertised by immobiliers and are often snapped up by locals.

(Published January/February 2008)




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