Location, Location, Location

You can buy a French château for less than the price of an apartment in Melbourne.

This flat near Spencer Street is priced at $2.49 million.

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This château in France is worth $2.45 million (1.68 million euros.)

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The flat has two car parks. The chateau is on 24 acres.

Its not even an unusually cheap château. Here’s a 24 bedroom one for 3.6 million euros. And there’s page after page of more modest ones listed for less than a million euros

I find this amazing and just more evidence for my belief that Melbourne property prices are crazy. But in another way, perhaps it makes perfect sense.

France has a château every few villages, and many of them are far from good services. The one above is 3 hours south-west of Paris. If you lived there, you’d probably have to work in Angers. It’s a town of 150,000 people, so the job opportunities aren’t going to be really diverse. The local unemployment rate is 9 per cent.

But obviously, the kind of people who can afford a château tend to live in the city. So this would most likely be a holiday home. Here’s your problem. If you’re after a holiday home in France, you’d choose the French Riviera (Châteaux down there cost more – a lot more) or perhaps the mountains.

Chateau ownership enthusiasm is probably further tempered once you realise the maintenance costs on a building put together prior to the industrial revolution. In browsing the listings I did notice that many of them were “partly renovated.”

Still, with Melbourne property prices where they are, you might be tempted to buy a pile of 18th century French stone and take your chances in the local job market.

But the smart move would be to sample the market first… Through AirBnB I turned up dozens of châteaux for rent on a nightly basis at prices that seem extremely reasonable.

This one accommodates 12 people, costs $1200 a night, and has a moat!

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