Last week I shared some photographs of an incredible modern house, and came to the decision that as part of our Moving To France Masterplan I need to start researching the possibilities not only of purchasing and renovating a tumbledown Provençal maison, but also of building a brand new modern home. I love the idea of creating a 21st-century eco home and building it from the ground up to our precise specification.
I'm also guided in this decision by the fact that there are just not that many Provençal mansions out there in need of renovation. Ten years ago? You probably couldn't move in the Luberon without falling over one. But now? They've all been snapped up, renovated, and sold on for eye-watering sums. I've been watching the property market in the area for nearly a year now, and have only seen one suitable renovation candidate come up for sale - and it went almost immediately, probably for the (huge) asking price.
However, there is quite a lot of land for sale. And buying land and building a house is significantly cheaper than buying an existing building.
Especially if you were to buy a timber-frame eco house from Scandia-Hus.
Check out The Tithe Barn:
This beauty has 219 square metres of floor space, with five bedrooms. I'm not so fond of the outside finish, but you can pretty much choose any exterior you fancy. And the price? £110,000 for the shell plus installation.
Pardonnez-moi, I hear you say? Is there a zero missed off the end? Um, no. That's really how much it costs. On top of that, you of course then have the cost of installing flooring, kitchen, bathrooms, plumbing, electrics etc. And also the land, which according to my research so far is around the £150,000 mark. So effectively you are paying £260,000 for a brand new building in need of cosmetic renovation - as opposed to paying £500,000 (yep, that's the going rate in the Luberon) for a tumbledown farmhouse in need of total renovation.
Here's The Picasso - £124,000 for 226 square metres and 3 bedrooms:
Or how about The Woodlands - £200,000 for 441 square metres and 5 bedrooms:
Or maybe The Hamshaw - £200,000 for 422 square metres and 6 bedrooms:
And yes, they deliver to France. Sold!
Well, not quite :-) There's still a lot to consider, of course. But isn't it inspiring to know that it's possible to build your own fabulous casa on your own land for substantially less than the cost of an older (and smaller...) building? Who needs the so-called 'character' that only older houses can apparently lay claim to when you have six bedrooms, cathedral ceilings, 30 degree sunshine and a swimming pool for half the price?