Places to buy a house in France: Aniane, South France
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The village of Aniane, is in my opinion, a great place to buy a house in France. This South France village is very beautiful and is served by excellent transport connections. The village is easy to reach via Montpellier airport or the TGV train station. A dual carriageway passes by Aniane and it makes it a very quick 20 minute journey into central Montpellier. Aniane also serves as an excellent base for exploring the local region.
From a property investment perspective, properties in Aniane can enjoy very good annual rental yields from summer holiday rentals, as well as long winter lets. Furthermore, with property prices in nearby Montpellier predicted to spike significantly over the next 3-5 years, the ripple-effect across the Montpellier commuter-belt will also benefit houses in Aniane. Buying a house in Aniane, France, could well turn out to be your best-loved investment.
Aniane - places to buy a house in France
Aniane is a village of around 3,000 people, located 35 km West of Montpellier. There are many reasons why you should consider buying a property in the South France village of Aniane.
The primary reason is that the village is very beautiful. It is everything that you could imagine from a village in the South of France. From the old stone buildings, to the wide esplanade lined by tall Plane trees, to the typical French bars and restaurants. Imagine walking down to the centre of the village to buy your baguette in the morning, or sipping a cool glass of wine in the evening sunshine and watching the old guys play Boules in the village square. Aniane really is the perfect place to relax and enjoy your local surroundings.
The village has also benefited from a new by-pass opened in 2020, which has dramatically cut down the amount of traffic passing through the centre of the village (en route to the popular tourist destinations of St Guilhelm-les-Desert and the Pont du Diable).
Aniane France - popular tourist destination
The second reason for considering Aniane is that the surrounding countryside is spectacular.
The flat plains surrounding Aniane are planted with vineyards and produce some excellent wines. The famous French actor, Gérard Depardieu, is the owner of a vineyard close to Aniane. The neighbouring wine domain of Mas de Daumas Gassac has brought international recognition to the wines of Aniane.
But just 5 kms away from Aniane, the vineyards give way to the dramatic landscape of the Massif Central. The mountains rise up before your eyes and provide an impressive backdrop to the surrounding countryside.
The local roads around Aniane are quiet and the perfect terrain for cycling. The Tour de France regularly passes close-by to Aniane on the route down to the Pyrenees.
Aniane is also located close to the famous village of Saint-Guilhem-les-Desert, one of the most beautiful villages in France and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The village is situated on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostella in Spain and and is listed as one of the Grand Sites de France, in recognition of its historical importance. The old square at the top of the village, with its 200 year old tree, is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal during the hot summer evenings.
The Gorge d'Herault is just 5 minutes up the road, which is a popular site for canoeing and swimming in the cool fresh waters.
The small lake at the Pont du Diable is just 2 minutes from the village. This is a busy tourist spot in the summer with the stoney beach packed with locals and tourists alike.
Next to the Pont du Diable, there is the Grotte de Clamouse, one of the most beautiful caves in France. The cave network extends for over 4.5km under the limestone hills of the Massif Central.
The Mediterranean beaches are just 35 mins drive away from Aniane. The beaches closest to Montpellier - such as Carnon Plage and Palavas - are not the best on the Languedoc coast. To the North of Montpellier, there is a fantastic beach - L'Espiguette Plage - which is perhaps one of the best beaches on the Languedoc coast. The beach has big sand dunes at the rear and unusually for the Mediterranean, has big waves coming in off the sea. There are also a number of excellent beach bars dotted along the beach. Equally, the beaches South of Montpellier, in between the coastal towns of Sete and Marseillan are also worth visiting.
The nearby Etang du Thau has been producing fresh oysters and mussels for centuries. The Oysters from Bouzigues are known throughout France and feature on the menus of Michelin star restaurants.
It is of no surprise that Aniane is a popular tourist destination (especially with French, Dutch and Belgian visitors). From a property investment perspective, this works in your favour, by providing a regular supply of potential rental customers (if you are looking to buy a second home) and keeping the local property prices buoyant.
Aniane - good local service and transport links
Thirdly, Aniane is a well-equipped village, with friendly local inhabitants. There is an excellent local wine cooperative, as well as a good range of shops and medical services.
Just down the road in the nearby town of Gignac, you will find 2 good sized supermarkets, as well as a wider selection of restaurants, including the Michelin starred Restaurant de Lauzan.
Finally, the village of Aniane is located 20-25 mins from the cosmopolitan Southern French city of Montpellier, where you have access to an international airport, TGV train station, as well as some excellent beaches.
From an investment perspective, this is very important. Montpellier is a thriving city. In 2021, Montpellier overtook Strasbourg as the 7th largest city in France. Montpellier has doubled in size since 1960. The city is home to 3 Universities, including one of the oldest Medical faculties in Europe. It is also an important regional medical centre and has a dynamic bio-technology sector. Montpellier is routinely voted as the Top place in France that French citizens would like to relocate to.
But space is at a premium in the city. The local council have invested heavily in relocating the route of the A9 motorway around the city, pushing it further towards the coast, in order to free up some much needed land for house-building and technology parks.
Aniane - popular Montpellier over-spill
Montpellier acts as the incubator of house price growth in the region. Montpellier is the fastest growing city in France and it has just over-taken Strasbourg as the 7th biggest city in France.
When house prices increase in Montpellier, there is a ripple effect out to the surrounding towns in the commuter belt, of which Aniane is a part. During 2022, house prices in Montpellier grew by 12.1%.House prices have been rising in Montpellier for the last 7 years, fuelled by demand for houses outstripping demand.
I would expect to see house prices in Aniane increase by between +7.5% and +9.0% during 2023 and +5.4% during 2024. House prices in Aniane have now reached beyond the peak of the housing market achieved in 2006 and I believe that after 2024, prices will stabilise to around +2.0% - +3.5% growth. 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 Aniane.
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 Aniane is going to cost around €450,000 at current prices. This villa can be rented very easily for between €2500-€3200 per week during July and August. In addition, you are likely to pick up 3 or 4 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 €1500 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 €36,300 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 Aniane.
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 Aniane and the South of France during 2023, could yield very good returns in the future.
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.