French village sells houses with 25% discount by raffle draw

The €300,000 family homes are part of a local initiative to make housing for locals more affordable in the area

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A village in eastern France is to sell 16 detached houses at 25% below market price, with buyers decided by a raffle draw, as a means to combat soaring house prices in the area.

The housing market in Pontarlier, Doubs (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) is seeing soaring prices, partly due to the effect of higher salaries in neighbouring Switzerland whose border is just 10km away.

This can make it difficult for lower-income families to get on to the housing ladder and secure stable housing in their own home area, say authorities.

Éric Cuenot, sales manager at estate agency Intoo, which is organising the sales, told FranceInfo: “Each house will be sold for €300,000 [and] the acquisition will be by lottery, which is something new for us.”

Didier Chauvin, deputy mayor of Pontarlier, said: "We want all those who want to live in Pontarlier to be able to do so, to keep its shops and schools alive.”

The commune has therefore decided to sell these plots of land at a lower price, so that the builders will be able to sell the houses they build below the market price too.

A total of 28 applications were received for the 16 houses available, so the commune decided to create the raffle draw system, to make the allocation as fair as possible.

It comes as housing prices across France are soaring as a result of what estate agents have termed the “Covid effect”, and a significant drop in the availability of such properties.

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