House-buyers paid to buy in France's historic Picardy

Communities in Pays de la Serre team-up to offer €5,000 to property hunters who buy empty houses

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Property hunters can now get paid €5,000 to buy a house in one area of France.

Authorities in the Pays de la Serre region of the Aisne department are have decided to offer the incentive to first-time buyers or newcomers to the region who purchase a home that has stood vacant for three years and who commit to stay for at least five years.

It is believed it is the first offer of its kind in France.

Some 42 communes in the historic Picardy region have allocated €50,000 to the scheme. And it appears to be working. Since the money back programme was inaugurated, officials have fielded an average of 30 calls a day enquiring about the offer.

The idea is the brainchild of Jean-Pierre Verzelen, president of the community of municipalities of the Serre region and mayor of Crécy-sur-Serre.

The Pays de la Serre is 45 minutes from Reims, in the heart of rural Picardy.

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