Buying a mobile home in FrancePosted on: 29 April 2015 by Gareth Hargreaves
Daniel Johnson examines why mobile could be better than bricks and mortar when considering a property investment abroad.
With the pound hitting recent record highs against the Euro, the cost of buying a holiday home in France is at its most affordable level for many years.
For those looking for the joie-de-vivre of the French way of life rather than building project, buying a mobile home on a holiday village is more appealing than choosing a run down gite.
Elizabeth Cook, who has a mobile home in Brittany, says this means she and husband John can focus on their lifestyle, rather than the upkeep of their home: "We like the atmosphere and live life to the full everyday, getting together with other owners and getting involved. We didn't want to compromise by buying a house and then worrying about it.”
Being part of a friendly community it another reason Brits choose the holiday village option.
Michele Reed says the people she has met while owning at a holiday village in Languedoc have left a deep impression: “Life on parc is friendly, exciting, and the people are fun. I have made some extraordinary, lifelong friends.”
For many owners, the holiday village environment means a more sociable lifestyle.
Marian Chilvers, who owns a holiday home in Brittany with husband Arthur, says being on a holiday village has helped them make new friends: “We’ve got a great social life, meet lots of lovely people, eat together, go to restaurants together. We have more of a social life here than we do at home.”
Ella Francois, at a holiday village in Normandy, agrees: “We have a group of friends and every week one of us will host a meal, it’s so enjoyable.”
“This is our life, we can’t wait to go back each time we return to the UK. We’ve made so many friends and we love to sit around, share food and chat,” says Kate Key, an owner in Normandy.
For Keith and Susan Watkins, their home in the Loire Valley plays an essential role in their retirement: "We're not on holiday when we come here, it's part of the retirement lifestyle. But it's not all retired people here, there's a big mix of ages. In August we bring our grandchildren; they absolutely adore it here and can't wait to come.”
Elizabeth Oldfield has been bringing her family to their mobile home in Brittany since the children were young: “We live right by the beach in England, but we never go, we just don’t have time. In France we get to do all the things we want to do because we’re on holiday.”
Owning their own holiday home helps the Oldfields explore further afield in France: “We’ve got time to discover lots of little places the tourists can’t find. We look for places where there are no other Brit cars!”
Holiday villages will often have a wide range of facilities that owners can use. Typical attractions at four and five star destinations can include pools, tennis courts and boules pitches, children’s clubs, playgrounds and evening entertainment, although these may not all be available outside of the busy holiday season from May to September.
For Christine Webster, the facilities at her Loire Valley base are essential: "Every other day the boys go fishing, dad likes to go to the bar at lunchtime and we have our aperitifs on all the terraces and do our keep fit. I don't do any keep fit or swimming at home but here, we have time for us, and that's the important thing.”
Price is a key factor in any holiday home purchase, and with pre-owned mobile homes available from around €15,000, and new models from around €25,000, they can be the most affordable way of buying a holiday home.
Running costs are minimal, and mobile home owners rarely face the expensive surprises that spring up with older bricks and mortar properties.
Budgeting for annual charges is a straight forward task, with a yearly site fee – covering the cost of a pitch, utilities, site maintenance and facilities – taking up the biggest proportion of costs. Insurance, gas checks and winterization - to prepare the mobile home for the coldest months - add a few hundred Euros to bills.
Many holiday home owners can even offset these costs by letting out their holiday home to holidaymakers during busy periods, with some holiday villages offering their own letting schemes to do this on their owners’ behalf.
Being part of a holiday village brings peace of mind to owners who regularly travel between their home in the UK and their holiday home in France: "Security is important,” says Christine Russell, who owns a mobile home in the Loire Valley. “We know that when we leave our holiday home it's secure, and when we come back it's exactly as we left it."
Daniel Johnson works for Siblu Villages, who own 15 holiday villages across France with more than 7,500 mobile home owners. For information about owning a holiday home with Siblu, or to find out about their taster visits to France, go to sibluvillages.com or call freephone 0800 960 512.
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