Land price

We are considering buying a property in the Dordogne which has a large parcel of land which is mainly tree covered hill. There is an option to make an offer for the house with just the immediate surrounding 2000 square metres. The remaining hill is about 15000 square metres and a neighbour is apparently wanting to buy this. Two questions: can anyone please point out any pitfalls or advantages of either option we might not have considered? Secondly, we really only need the smaller plot but have no idea what the larger bit of land would be worth, so not sure what to offer if we decide to leave it for the neighbour to buy. Does anyone have any idea about land prices in this area? I suspect the answer to this may involve the proverbial piece of string but any guidance would be very useful.

'Zones constructibles' will always be shown in the sales material or in another form because they also bring up the value a lot. Whereas woodland is €2000 per ha tops, one hectare of building land, usually two or more plots, is worth a small fortune and is actually better sold off as that. The area required for a €5000 tax would be fairly vast, which is not what Michelle is looking at. If it is still woodland and will remain so, then it still comes under 'agricultural' tax rates whereby we have a field of about 1 ha for which we pay nothing since it is used for hay by local dairy farmers. Woodland to be used to 'harvest' wood or even as an animal sanctuary would be zero rated in most cases. So, if there is no CU then no worry.

I'm not an expert in this field but read the article below yesterday. So check out the Tax Fonciere on the property. If it's big and the land is considered building land it could lead to very high taxes in excess of 5000 € a year. This isn't including your tax d'habitation which you would also need to know too. This tax went up by 68% in a lot of places and the present government agenda is to raise it by 10% a year until 2017.

tax fonciers article Express (in French)

Never underestimate the value of land/woodland nor the pleasure it brings to yourself, your visitors, children, grandchildren ... At the prices Brian M is estimating above, the land should pay for itself in a few years. Also, it serves as a veritable buffer against possible danger of noise and nuisance caused by all kinds of people and activities.. There is some maintenance involved with it, as with all earthly possessions. Of course, the price needs to be right -- and local, reliable, trustworthy advice is needed here!! Good luck!.

My OH's sales patch includes Cendrieux and St Alvère then across to just above Bergerac so that area. I am probably about 40 minutes from there just across the river, so know the area pretty well. The hills are not bad, hardly high and sharp inclines so not to worry. That is mainly oak, chestnut and hornbeam woodland, pine plantations stand out like a sore thumb and I am sure you would have noticed it. Pretty nice area all in all. Mushrooms too then, this area has seen a glut this autumn and here they are again this week. Top price for the woodland should be something like €3k to €3200.

Aquitaine, between Vergt and Bergerac, Brian.

Where is it actually, Dordogne we know, but which part roughly.

Thanks for the ongoing advice. We are going to look at it again on Monday. The hill is fairly steep up from the house but we don't know how level on top or how it slopes away at the other side, so will investigate. From aerial photos, it looks to have a nice clearing on the summit. As we hadn't even considered making a profit from it, if it can only supply our own firewood and pay for itself in terms of what we have to spend to maintain it, that will be a bonus.

We will look into the question of the chasse too. We have a small pack of dogs ourselves (4), not involved in the chasse, but it would be good to have a bit of land to walk them on too.

Just to put this in perspective, 15000 sq m is 1.5 hectares and at prices mentioned previous the price would be EUR 2000-3000, which doesn't seem an awful lot compared to the rest of the property. As well as potential for harvesting the timber, control over the land, you have aesthetic and other values such as acting as a wind break or wind filter.

Even if it's a thicket, you can clean it up at your own speed. Some species regenerate, so there is no need to replant, although you may have to cull excess regrowth. If you do stem and form pruning at right time, you can harvest clearwood timber in the future, which is a lot more valuable than firewood.

Learning to manage your forest can become a consuming and healthy passion. Good luck

Yes Clare, when we applied for our 50m extension of the no shooting zone, we were exactly two and a half years in and had to wait for the cycle to be over before it was enacted, although granted fairly quickly. However, now that I help the hunt I have found out that it is as easy to deal a deal with the local hunt. For instance, allowing them access to cross land but not hunt on it is fairly certain to get you at least one good piece of game a season, if not a bit more. It is also far more important, and believe me I am totally gaga about animals, that where deer are doing extensive damage (not just crops meant) that the hunt is also culling overpopulated areas. As experts will say, since natural predators have been exterminated or close to that, hunting is the last resort and the brighter hunters will say the same. It is both sides of a coin.

Hereabouts most of the forest is hilly, some quite sharp slopes, but forestry is unproblematic. Unmanaged woodland is hard to 're-tame' though and is a very good point.

As regards the chasse, speak to the prefecture they will tell you if the land in included in the chasse or excluded. If it is in the chasse, you have a four year cycle to get it changed. So, for example, if the four year cycle started this year , you cannot have it changed until Autumn 2018 ready for the following year. they will talk you through what you need to do. The best thing would to be to apply for faune sauvage. We did this and they cannot come on to our land without our permission it is totally interdit. A friend of mine also did it on 32 hectares of their land. You can also get assistance from various animal protection societies in France. I didn't have to use one but this may shorten any process. The biggest hurdle I found is the four year slot especially if it has recently been granted.

Michelle, a good notaire will be able to give you an accurate price for the land. Secondly, you said that this is on a hill. From experience as we have woodland in such a position. Things to consider, how steep that hill is and its accessibility. If it is very steep and dense at the moment it maybe tricky to manage to start. Will you manage it yourself or get someone in? If you have to get someone in it will cost you and this will have to be offset against any income. We bought a house with such woodland but, no one had managed it for at least 20 years. It has been a hard 6 year struggle to get it looking something like decent and we have still not finished. I reckon it will take us another 3-4 to get it manageable. It is a great learning curve as well, learning how to use a chainsaw properly and not dangerously, if you are going to do it yourself. If you get someone in to do it, some will take a percentage of the wood they cut as their fee but these people particularly where we are, are very few these days.

Good point. If it has hunting rights that you don't like, then to apply for that to be stopped there means jumping through a few hoops and takes ages. We got the distance between our house and where they can shoot extended from the statutory 150m to 200m, that took 18 months although it was almost immediately accepted as a done thing.

Also try and find out why the neighbour is interested in buying the wood, does he have a pack of dogs is he a member of the local chasse all things one needs to consider when buying a rural property in france, if you own it then you have a little bit of control over the wood.

Guess we better have a proper look at it on our next visit. To be honest, before asking advice on here we were heading towards not buying it, so hadn't really taken much notice of what the trees are. We will take a walk over the hill on our next viewing.

good point Brian

No John, woodland has a single price. But yes, a good question. Chêne, charme,châtaignier and orme are trees you get commonly here in the Dordogne. If it is pine wood think again for a multitude of reasons but including the most awful fuel possible and pine processionary moth caterpillars (chenilles processionnaire [du pin]).

What trees does it have, not all wood fetches the same amount. Would have thought that will affect the land price?

if you have the chance to have your own woodlot then buy it . Firewood is expensive and you'd probably find yourself regretting not buying the wood land as you shell out for another load of fuel from the woodman.

My OH is a part-time agent, so easy to ask: "Darling what's the land price...?"