A French village sells houses with 25% discount by raffle

A village in eastern France is to sell 16 detached houses at 25% below market price, with buyers selected by lottery, in a bid to tackle soaring house prices in the area.

The housing market in Pontarlier, Doubs (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) is experiencing a surge in prices, partly as a result of rising wages in neighboring Switzerland, whose border is only 10 km away.

According to authorities, this can make it difficult for low-income families to move up the housing ladder and secure stable housing in their own home areas.

Éric Cuenot, commercial manager of the Intoo estate agency, which is organizing 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 everyone who wants to live in Pontarlier to be able to do so, to support its businesses and its schools.”

The municipality has therefore decided to sell this land at a lower price, so that the builders can also sell the houses they are building below the market price.

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

It comes as house prices across France are soaring due to what estate agents have called the “Covid effect” and a significant drop in the availability of such properties.

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