Many Britons choose to live near the Canal du Midi.

Property activity in France has risen slightly in the second quarter of 2012 according to the latest European Investment Market Update from globally integrated real estate research company DTZ.

The research highlighted that three quarters of real estate investment transactions took place across Europe’s three largest markets – the UK, France and Germany – with volumes reaching €18.7bn. The biggest post in property volumes occurred in France with sales up 114% (including commercial property), rising to €4.2bn indicating that given sustained uncertainty surrounding the Eurozone crisis, investors are continuing to focus on the safety of large, well established property markets.

Danny Silver, expert in French real estate, Paris resident and MD of The Villages Group, comments: “It is clear that France’s perception of stability and being a ‘safe haven’ for property buyers still prevails. Over the years French property has enjoyed virtually constant success, and with the Euro plummeting to new lows against the pound and the lowest debt in Europe, it’s no wonder that real estate investors still view that nation as a wise property move.

“Indeed, with a strong reputation and the opportunity to get more for your money, it seems many are making their dream of escaping to France a reality. For those entering their third age especially, France is often the ideal destination which is why we have developed our active living Villages for the over 50’s here, providing services and amenities that encourage a happy and healthy lifestyle focussed around a strong community of like-minded individuals.”

There are weekly markets in most towns and villages in France. Flower festivals also attract a large number of visitors

Of course no matter how great the appeals of France may be, in the current economic climate, the decision whether to move often comes down to cost. Carrying out extensive client research, The Villages Group surveyed 3,000 people over the age of 50 and discovered that 91% of those questioned wanted to know how much it costs to live at a Village, focussing particularly on maintenance costs which quite often can “start low and after a few years, go through the roof,” according to Silver.

As well as this, 76% of respondents wanted to know how much it would cost to own a home in one of the Villages. Silver explains: “The question of money is usually the first thing that people want to know, particularly among those in or reaching retirement. This isn’t surprising – who wants to have a relaxed lifestyle with a mortgage hanging over their head or having to pay increasing rentals? We believe the solution to this is a Syndicate – the modern way to save on ownership costs and keep maintenance down. Our legal team of Notaires and Lawyers have found this to be the best solution in France, one that works in compliance with the very strict French legal system – undisputedly the safest country in the world to own property.”

At The Villages, situated in three wonderful French communities, the first of which will be built at the Canal du Midi, Languedoc region of France, residents become a member of the entire village with ownership of a house of their choice, including all amenities. One of the biggest advantages of the syndicate-style programme is that it helps keep prices at least 30% lower than similar properties.

As well as this, running costs are kept to a minimum as members own The Village, hotel, restaurants and sauna all of which are open to the public and all profits are set against maintenance fees, helping to keep running costs at a minimum.

For more information please visit The Villages Group at: