Resicom – Holiday Investment – 04-21 – LB

Montpellier – A Growing French City

Montpellier has been named the fastest growing city in France due to its attractive climate and lifestyle.

A census recently published by the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies in France revealed that the population grew by 7.4 per cent in the five years between 2008 and 2013.

A historical city located on the banks of the river Lez and close to the French Mediterranean coast, Montpellier is the city of choice for Parisians looking to relocate and overseas property investors attacted by the well preserved historic town centre dating from the middle ages.

However, recent development has focussed on bold contemporary architecture to contrast with the traditional heart. From infrastructure projects like the new railway station designed by Marc Mimram, to residential developments such as the pine cone shaped 17-storey L’Arbre Blanc, designed by Sou Fujimoto of Tokyo. The latter featuring a restaurant, gallery and offices, as well as 120 apartments, already mostly sold at prices of about €6,000 per sq metre.

The residential tower is one of 12 planned developments in Montpellier which have been nicknamed the ‘modern follies’, a reference to the city’s elaborate residences built by noble families in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Whilst Montpellier is building a reputation for modern contemporary new developments, original period properties are still much sought after.

Immobilière Foch Sotheby’s International Realty is selling a four-bedroom apartment in a 17th-century townhouse close to the centre of town for €795,000.

You can even purchase one of Montpellier’s original follies. A 17th-century château with 13 bedrooms and 1.2 hectares of grounds, is on sale for €2 million.

Property prices are still affordable relative to other popular French destinations such as the Côte d’Azur, with prices having grown by around 2 per cent over the past 18 months to an average of €4,000 per sq metre.

Montpellier has a relatively young population with around 43 per cent of the residents aged under 30, including about 70,000 students. This followed initiatives to encourage investment in digital and green technologies, that led to Montpellier receiving government accreditation as a Tech City (one of nine across France).

Support was strong for Emmanuel Macron in the recent presidential election, with over three-quarters (77.67 per cent) in the city voting for the new president.

Further new large infrastructure projects are planned, including the new district of Port Marianne as well as enhanced road and rail links, which will help create further employment opportunities.

However, it has been confirmed by mayor Philippe Saurel that new development will not threaten the historical character of Montpellier.

‘Montpellier’s historic district is one of the most important in France and is heavily protected,’ he said. ‘Socially and culturally the city doesn’t change character with our welcoming of new citizens.’

With extensive infrastructure investment planned and a growing young population requiring rental accommodation, Montpellier will no doubt be of intere4st to overseas property investors looking to invest in French History.

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