Guide to finding a property to rent or buy in Montpellier
A popular slice of Mediterranean paradise
Montpellier is an increasingly popular city with three sandy beaches in easy reach of its historic medieval city centre. Just outside the main commuter belt there are rolling vineyards and pretty villages and the city is less than three hours by car from skiing in the Cevennes.
Situated in the Occitanie region, Montpellier is famous for producing wonderful wines and is world-renowned for the quality of its grapes. Architecturally, the city boasts a theatre of unusual and imaginative structures with plenty of open-spaces, cobbled squares, fountains and magnificently sized buildings, all built in a modern neo-classical style.
The city also boasts a highly effective transport network which was designed to reduce car traffic in central areas (the epicentre of Montpellier is, in fact, the largest pedestrianised city centre in Europe).
One major result of this project is that one third of households do not have a car, making Montpellier a comparatively safe and low pollution place to live.
An ever-growing, up and coming French city
Montpellier is densely populated with the eighth highest headcount in France (just over 250,000 inhabitants). Almost one third of its population is made up of students from the three universities and three higher education institutions situated within the city, opening a huge range of buy-to-let prospects for property investors in the area.
Montpellier is also one of the fastest growing cities in France and a popular area for expats (particularly from Spain) who enjoy the region’s warm climate, picturesque attractions and young, lively vibe.
The result of increased interest in the area is the rising cost of property prices, with the cost of buying a home in Montpellier increasing by +4.4% in 2018 (in the nearby city of Nimes, just 50km up the road, prices grew by only +0.6% during the same period).
Property in Montpellier – what’s available?
Montpellier is a city built on creativity, imagination and a desire to please the eye rather than on industry, attracting internationally acclaimed architects and engineers who have revitalised and reshaped the urban landscape in recent years, with projects including a stunning modern housing tower designed by acclaimed Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto.
Most of the properties on offer in central Montpellier are apartments as the majority of the city’s grand period housing has now been broken up into flats to accommodate the rising popularity of the city along with an increased demand for affordable and compact student homes.
Though the Montpellier property market is competitive, with over 1000 people moving to the area each month, it’s still possible to find a bargain, especially if you’re prepared to take on a renovation project, sacrifice luxuries like a large garden or pool or consider an area that isn’t yet at peak popularity.
How do Montpellier property prices measure up?
To rent in Montpellier, a one-bedroom apartment within the city centre costs around €590.00 per calendar month, with the same apartment costing €462.00 if you’re prepared to move a little further outside the city boundary.
A three-bedroom central apartment will set you back just over €1000.00 per month while outside the centre, the price falls to just over €900.00.
If you’re looking to purchase an apartment in Montpellier, a city-centre pad costs around €3,325 per square meter, with an apartment outside the centre falling to around €2,450 per square metre.
The best residential areas in Montpellier Montpellier is made up of seven districts and, within these, residents are spoiled for choice with many residential areas offering a great quality of life.
Located on the Eastern side of the city, Antigone boast some of the most beautiful neoclassical architecture in Montpellier. Being made up of long, tree lined avenues packed with period properties. Though rental prices are higher than in other areas of Montpellier, there’s plenty to justify the heftier price tags.
Antigone Olympic Pool can be found in this popular area, along with a range of superb restaurants, the large Polygone shopping centre and arguably the best public library in the city.
The artistic and bohemian Beaux Arts district, located in central Montpellier, has a friendly feel of a small village while being packed with a range of bustling boutique shops, cafes and galleries. This area is popular with the young boho crowd of the city, local artists and students who enjoy its cultural diversity and café society within small markets and bustling squares.
Alco is a safe, quiet district to the north-west of Montpellier that’s popular with families and working professionals who enjoy proximity to the city centre in a more peaceful setting. This is a great area for drivers as the streets are wide and many rental apartments comes with its own parking space. Whether you’re looking for a stylish high-rise modern flat or a small family house, Alco is a great area for families as it includes the College Alco Montpellier, one of the best schools in the city.
The old walled town and historic district of Montpellier is a maze of narrow, winding medieval streets bordered by stunning historic buildings, churches and cobbled courtyards. The area is the largest pedestrianised city centre in Europe, and boasts a wealth of boutique shops, museums, art galleries. trendy bars and fine restaurants. Property prices in Ecusson are higher than more residential districts as characterful apartments in this unique part of the city are in short supply.
The most modern district of Montpellier, Port Marianne is filled with trendy bars and restaurants along with some of the city’s most imaginative modern architecture. Close to the River Lez with beautiful walks along the bank along with several leafy parks for families to enjoy, Port Marianne is one of the most fashionable, up and coming neighbourhoods in Montpellier, with property prices on the rise.
Looking for a property in Montpellier?
If you’re thinking of relocating to Montpellier and have yet to locate your dream property, there are several major estate agents in the area who can help.
Bellesdemeures, nestpick and Sotheby’s Realty are all fantastic choices for individuals or families looking to move the this popular and beautiful part of France.
Buying process in Montpellier
There are no restrictions on foreign buyers, but all transactions in France are required to go through a notary, who will draw up agreements of sale and contracts, and ensure that all taxes and fees are collected and paid.
Buyers should budget around 7 percent above the selling price for the notary’s fee and agents fee, with much of the notary fees going to the state in the form of transfer taxes and other associated fees. It is usually not necessary to retain a lawyer. Read our guide to buying a property in France here.