A village in rural France has come up with an inventive way to tackle depopulation – by offering plots of land at only €1 per m².
Local authorities hope the move will help the area repopulate after the number of residents fell below 2,500.
There are eight plots of land between 700m² and 1,300m² in size currently available in the village of Fursac, in the Creuse department, with a ninth soon to be added.
To date over 100 applications applying for a plot have been sent to the mairie.
Those chosen will need to construct their homes within two years, aimed at ensuring they move to the area as quickly as possible.
Boost for local workers
The lots were previously available for around €14.50 per m² but saw no takers.
“If we take away the price of the land for the families, it is still an additional contribution, and it also helps to trigger bank loans,” said the village’s mayor Olivier Mouveroux.
“We are going to ask [those who are granted the lots] to provide proof that they have the financial capacity to build before they go to the notary,” he added.
Whilst similar to other schemes which see old houses in rural areas sold for as little as €1, by selling the plots of land purchasers can build a property from scratch, giving them freedom in its design.
It also allows the properties to be built with eco-friendly elements, helping them score high in DPE rankings, and reduce energy bills.
It can also provide a boost for local tradesmen as, rather than being a renovation project, it is the construction of an entire home.
Residents welcome proposal
Those already living in the town have welcomed the idea and hope it will breathe new life into the village.
“We have a fairly elderly population, so why not bring in people in their thirties with children,” said one resident, who will be a neighbour of those who purchase the new plots.
“If everything comes to fruition in the coming months, the families who have chosen to come here will bring up to 45 school-age children to the community," says Robert Gény, the town councillor responsible for schooling.
The boost will assuage fears in the local primary school, which has only 80 pupils, that closure may be coming.
Last year the school lost almost a cohort of pupils due to a lack of numbers.
A number of doctors are amongst those which have applied for plots which is viewed as positive as the current GP is set to retire in the coming years.
Businesses are also able to apply for a €1 per m² plot of land in the town’s industrial estate.
If you are interested in purchasing a plot you are unlikely to be the only non-French person in the area.
Creuse is the department with the highest number of non-French non-resident home purchasers in France, with 8% of all transactions coming from this group.