In Vancouver, Canada, $500,000 might buy you a one-bedroom condo built in the 1990s. In Lauzun, France you can have a 12-bedroom, 12-bathroom former hospital built in the 18th century, for €365,000.
According to realtors Richard Immobilier, it is…
A fabulous maison de maître of imposing proportions within striking distance of Lauzun village. With all its amenities, this important property has a number of notable uses over the years. With its generous accommodation it provides the opportunity for several uses. In good overall condition but would benefit from some updating.
By “within striking distance,” the Web page means the maison is across the road from where I’m staying—about seven steps.
According to the plaque on the property’s stone gates, the community built La Rosaraire following the wishes of the Duke of Lauzun. It was a hospital, then a girls’ school, then a police station.
I’ve been here in southwestern France for about three weeks. It hasn’t taken long to notice that there are many properties for sale, and there are so many British property owners that the Dordogne region of France has been referred to as Dordogneshire. As early as 2008 newspapers have reported concerns that the foreign investors are disrupting the local culture and artificially inflating property values.
Dordogne-shire: How British expats could be be destroying an idyllic French paradise — The Daily Mail, February 2008
If you live in Vancouver (“Hong-couver”) like me, this will sound familiar. Being so close to the Pacific Rim countries, some say the city of Vancouver has experienced a huge influx of property buyers from Asian countries. And some say these foreign owners are availing of Canada’s health care and educational systems.
Mayor says Vancouver real estate market ‘not a race issue’ — CTV News, 2015
Is Vancouver the Chinese investors’ Dordogne—beautiful, relaxed, and cheap?
When I stayed in Goa last winter, I heard similar questions—are foreign buyers (Germans, Russians, Brits) buying up historic properties in small villages and changing the communities around them?
It’s a complex human geography question.
An Internet meme I heard a while ago comes to mind:
Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants? — The Guardian, 2015
I wonder about these things because I own a condo in Vancouver, and I like to visit and stay in other countries part of the year. Someone even asked if I was “semi-retired.”
And I must admit: the idea of owning property in a gorgeous, foreign, less-expensive country is very tempting.
But something in me balks at this. Maybe it’s that “human geography” aspect, or I’m not very handy around the house, or I’m a little fearful investing in a country where I don’t know all the rules.
In Vancouver my condo is worth maybe $210,000 CAD. I wonder what that would get me in Lauzun…or Goa…or … Belize… or….?
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