Nezignan l'Eveque - property hot spot South France
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There are a number of reasons why Nezignan l'Eveque in South France, has become such a property hot spot in the last 10 years. It has a great location, it is a very pretty village, it is full of life all year around and it is immaculately maintained
This small village, just 15 minutes inland from the Mediterranean coast in the old Languedoc region of Southern France, is a real gem. The Spanish border is 1 hour to the South and Provence is just 1 hour to the North.
It is without doubt one of the prettiest villages in this part of Languedoc. With it's circular streets surrounding the old church and its old stone buildings, main street lined with palm trees and vineyards surrounding the village; it is a truly beautiful environment to live in.
The historic centre of the village is lovely to walk around, with many buildings dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. There was a Roman fort located on the hill in the centre of the village and the Roman Commander who built the fort, Nasiniano, gave his name to the village.
The village used to be dominated by an old Abbey and fortified castle and you can still see remnants of the old ramparts, the ancient hospital (on Rue de l'Hôpital) , the wine cellars and tunnels under the streets and houses. Over time, the name of the village changed into Nezignan l'Eveque (or Nezignan of the Bishops), on account of the village becoming the summer residence of the Bishop of Agde.
When the Abbey was torn down after the French revolution, many of the stones were used to build the nearby houses. Nezignan l'Eveque became an important centre for Fig cultivation and wine making. The village is surrounded by vineyards and there are still winemakers active in the village.
Over the last 20 years, the local mayor (Dr Siccard) has transformed the village, investing in both the physical appearance of the village and the social activities available. The palm tree-lined main street, the renovated cobble lanes, the beautiful flower beds throughout the villages and the well maintained buildings; all create a visually pleasing atmosphere.
Vibrant French village in South France
Nezignan l'Eveque is a village full of life and activity. It is an extremely friendly village and you will not be short of things to do and friends to make. I would describe Nezignan l'Eveque as a very open village, welcoming of international residents from other countries. In some villages nearby, the number of foreign residents and second home owners is getting out of kilter with the local population, but in Nezignan l'Eveque the number of foreign residents only reaches 5% of the total population. The village is home to Swedish, German, Scottish, Australian, American and Canadian nationals.
The village holds a number of festivals throughout the year, including a popular Fig festival, a summer fete with 30 piece band playing long into the night, a fireworks display for Bastille day and a food and wine festival. The whole village turns out for each of these events.
The village also has many sports clubs, as well as a popular historical society and ceremonial society (Becos Figos) honouring those inhabitants who have contributed to enhancing the life of the village.
The village is also home to a boutique hotel, popular bar, award-winning restaurant, small supermarket, newsagent, hairdresser, beautician, bakers and a number of artisans (builders, electricians, mechanics, etc).
Finally, the physical location of Nezignan l'Eveque helps to enhance the property values in the village.
The village is located on a coastal plain in between Beziers and Montpellier and just 2 kms from the popular historic town of Pezenas.
Montpellier in recent years has become a boom town and it is the fastest growing city in France. Many of the inhabitants of Nezignan l'Eveque work in Montpellier and we are starting to see a lot of former residents of Montpellier moving out to the village, in search of larger and cheaper properties to buy.
Nezignan l'Eveque is situated close to the A75 and A9 motorways, which provides easy access to the major towns and to the coast, as well as fast routes to Paris and down to Barcelona and Northern Spain.
The Mediterranean beaches are just 15 minutes drive, with the pick of the local beaches being Vias Plage, Portiragnes Plage and Rochelongue Plage (in the seaside resort of Cap d'Agde).
Beziers airport is just 15kms away and this provides regular cheap flights to Paris, Stockholm, Disseldorf, Brussels and the UK (Bristol, London Luton, Manchester and Edinburgh).
There are 2 TGV train stations in the nearby towns of Agde and Beziers. There are regular train services up to to Paris, Montpellier, Lyon and down to Toulouse, Perpignan and Barcelona. A regular bus service runs throughout the year from Agde train station to Nezignan l'Eveque.
The local town of Pezenas is a popular draw for tourists in the area and it also provides many local services such as supermarkets, DIY stores, a local hospital, a cinema, restaurants and shopping. Pezenas is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful towns in the South of France. The town is full of life all year around. It is home to over 40 brocantes (antiques stores) and a large antiques fair is held twice a year. Pezenas also has a very active arts scene, with a summer theatre festival and many artists and artisans resident in studios in the historic centre of the town.
The Saturday market in Pezenas is one of the largest in the Languedoc and is thronged with tourists in the summer.
The best time to visit Pezenas is undoubtedly during the summer, when the streets host a large weekly food & wine festival, featuring over 30 local vineyards, live music and freshly cooked local produce.
Buying French property
It is for these reasons that Nezignan l'Eveque attracts a 10-15% premium on its property prices compared to other local villages. It is also what makes it such a pleasant place to live in.
French property in the Languedoc remains 25-30% cheaper to buy than neighbouring Provence. The local property market also remains bouyant. Just to give you an indication of how popular Nezignan l'Eveque is as a place to live, in early 2023, a small lottisement of 30 building plots was released on the market, just on the edge of the village. The building plots were snapped up in a matter of weeks and the Developer now has 261 people on a waiting list in case any of the original 30 buyers drop out. I mean that is pretty crazy, but it also shows you what has happened to the housing market in France over the last few years.
The housing market in France over the last 5 years has witnessed almost unprecedented levels of growth both in terms of prices and the number of property sales. House prices in France have increased by 27.8% over the last 5 years and the number of Property sales have topped the historically significant 1 million mark in every year since 2017. The latest figures show that in the 12 months up to Q3 2022, total property sales stood at 1,133,000 - which is the 6th highest quarterly rate out of the last 68 quarters [SOURCE: Bilan Immobilier 2022 notaires.fr].
During 2022, house prices in France continued to increase by +6.4% in the 12 months up to Q3 2022 and this is a continuation of almost 5 years of steady price growth.
During 2022, property prices in Montpellier increased by +12.1%, with the average price of a house reaching €425,000. In the surrounding areas to Montpellier, house prices have been increasing by +8.8% and the average house sale price was €253,700 during 2022.
The demand for summer holiday rentals and long term winter lets also remains buoyant in the Languedoc. The area remains popular with Northern Europeans, who are attracted by the hot climate, plenty of open space, excellent healthcare and excellent transport connections. If you are looking to buy property in France, either to live or as an investment, then Nezignan l'Eveque is an exceptional prospect.
I would expect to see house prices in Nezignan l'Eveque to increase by between +6.5% and +7.0% during 2023 and +5.4% during 2024. House prices in Nezignan l'Eveque have now recovered to the 2006 peak levels and I believe that after 2024, prices will stabilise to around +2.0% - +3.5% growth per year. This in itself is a good enough return, but this is not the only investment return that you can achieve through owning a villa or apartment in Nezignan l'Eveque.
We have been running a vacation rentals website in South France for 17 years. We created our long term rental website, 15 years ago. So we have a good appreciation of the rental business in South France. The South of France remains the most popular destination for villa rentals in France. Every year the region welcomes over 5 million visitors and 37% of overnight stays in France are in the South of France.
A 4 bed villa with a pool in Nezignan l'Eveque is going to cost around €450,000 at current prices. This villa can be rented very easily for between €2500-€3000 per week during July and August. In addition, you are likely to pick up 5 or 6 more bookings in the shoulder seasons of May/June and September/October for around €1800 per week. In the winter period, you will also be able to attract 4-6 month rentals, mainly from international clients looking for some winter sun. The monthly rental price would be somewhere in the range of €1200 to €1400 per month + bills.
I would stress that I have been conservative with my estimates of rental prices and the level of bookings. But even so, when you add up all of this rental income, you get to around €35,000 per year. If you take off around 10% for property management costs, you are still left with a net rental yield of around +7.0%. Now that makes it very interesting to own a property in a place like Nezignan l'Eveque.
You will of course still have the opportunity to use the villa yourself. Plus if you are funding the purchase of the villa with a mortgage or loan, then these costs can be used of offset against French tax. Equally, under certain small business structures in France, you can also amortize the value of the villa each year, to again reduce your taxes.
So it is very easy to see why an investment in property in Nezignan l'Eveque and the South of France during 2023, could yield very good returns in the future.
Thinking of buying an Investment property in France in 2023 . . . ?
I hope that I have given you some food for thought about considering the South of France as a destination for investing in property. If you would like to discuss the concept in more detail, please reach out to me on the contact details below. Further information on the French property market in South France can be found from the following resources:
- For more information about French house prices see House prices in France 2022-2023
- For an analysis of the housing market in France, see French Property Market 2023
- Read about the Best Places to buy investment property in France
- For information about a tax efficient vehicle for operating a rental property in France, please read Renting out furnished property in France.
Our business partner, Artaxa RE/MAX, is an international real estate agency based in the Languedoc region of the South of France.
If you would like to discuss suitable towns and villages in the South of France for a property investment, then please call Jane Laverock on +33 6 95 50 19 21 or email her at Jane Laverock.