Managed Holiday Home Retreats for Today’s Cash Rich Pensioners and Busy Professionals


Whilst cities may have been the growth story for the last five years, it is likely to be city getaway locations that show the best growth in the next five; with immense buying opportunities in the wide variety of quality retreat and resort property, according to Savills’ first ‘Prime Residential Retreats’ report (April 2014).  Simultaneously, the recent budget has given 55+ year olds control of their pension pot and cash to invest that previously they could not access in annuity funds.  Since many are now likely to be investing in property and also travelling more to enjoy their latter years, La Durantie is providing fully-managed rural holiday homes that are easily accessed from the UK, close to Toulouse in South West France. 

Time restricted, professionals are also wising-up to the benefits of an onsite management team and concierge service that alleviates the work involved in owning and maintaining a bolthole abroad.  Helen (43 years) and David (46 years) Ponsford have recently purchased a holiday home at La Durantie in The Tarn and the ‘full-service on tap’ was an important factor.  The professional couple who both work in Information Technology currently live in St Johns Wood (NW8) and found the south west region of France offered good value properties in a picturesque region compared to the expensive Riviera.  However, during their search they began to doubt they could cope with looking after a property overseas with their demanding jobs.  Helen says:  

“We went through quite a big change in thinking as we were originally looking for a romantic, independent property before realising that a fully managed rental we can ‘lock-up and leave’ without worrying suits our lifestyles much better.  We anticipate we might use our new home for a two week summer holiday per year as well as numerous week-end breaks and probably Christmas too.  We will also invite our families to enjoy some time with us in France and it is good that the Country Club and Spa extends the season – I can imagine chilling-out in the spa with a girlfriend in February or so.  Visiting as often as we wish should be easy as British Airways flies frequently from London to Toulouse and if we decide not to visit our property so frequently one year we know the rental will be taken care of for us.”

Since the economic crisis, the majority of UK second home buyers in France are mainly seeking homes with lifestyle benefits and with need for some return to ease financial outlay.  From opening in 2016, La Durantie is guaranteeing a minimum return on investment for the first 9 years of between 2.8 – 3.1%.  It is also projected that owners are likely to achieve a higher Internal Rate of Return (IRR), for example; based on 12 weeks rental per year (including 8 weeks in high season), Le Castelnau 3 bedroom property with pool at a purchase price of €500,950 (net of VAT) and with a loan to value of 70% is estimated to return 4.11%.  This equates to net revenue after interest of €6,173 and rises to €11,634 based on 16 weeks and €22,548 for 24 weeks rental.

Owners at La Durantie can use their property privately or opt for a combination of both investment and private use.  Co-Developer David Boden of Environ Communities ( says:  “La Durantie provides a safe buy-to-rent option which can be tailored to meet individuals’ lifestyle requirements through the French Leaseback system, with the opportunity to reclaim up to 20% VAT from the French Government backed scheme.  Boosted by the services and facilities provided by the country club, it is anticipated that homes on the estate will attract strong rental income.  The Country Club will be located in the renovated belle époque chateau building and will be the first of its kind in the region with its state of the art spa.  It is likely to be an attractive draw for visitors from Toulouse as well as overseas guests seeking a stylish and relaxed country retreat.”

With the downsizing trend looking set to continue, La Durantie responds to a gap in the market for active retirees who are not ready for a retirement home but would enjoy a level of social interaction in a like-minded and cultured community.  The grand salons and terraces of the chateau will comprise a formal drawing room and private meeting and dining rooms, a library, bistro-bar, barbecue terrace and gardens.  It is here that residents, guests and local ‘members’ will come together during the day and into the evening to drink, dine and enjoy everything from courses and events to concerts.  Other onsite facilities will include 20 metre indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, croquet lawn, pitch & putt and natural swimming lake.  Owners will have the opportunity to integrate with the local community and immerse themselves in the ‘L’Art de Vivre’ of Southern France including the local gastronomy and wine-tasting.  Within the central agricultural buildings a multi-purpose hall with stage (‘Le Moyeau’) will be used for music, films, functions, events & courses. 

France’s luxury property market is currently experiencing a return to favour with UK searchers and in accordance Knight Frank’s Prime Residential Insight (2014) report has detailed increased enquiries in the third quarter of 2013.  Notably, the south west region is highlighted with a 40% year-on-year increase.  Home Hunts’ first Inside France report (Q1 2014) also highlights the south west as a prime market hotspot with the most dominant nationality buying prime property in the region to be British, making up around 40% of enquiries.  The locations generating most enquiries in south-west France throughout 2013 were: the Dordogne, Bordeaux and Toulouse; which is just 50 minutes from La Durantie.

Overlooking undulating vineyards and miles of dense oak forest, La Durantie will soon become home to 57 vernacular designed single and two storey one to five bedroom detached homes together with two styles of apartments with either 2 or 3 bedrooms.  In-keeping with the local villages, homes will be arranged in small clusters of approximately six homes with private spaces and landscaped internal courtyards and private gardens.  Some homes will be stone faced and others will have the traditional render in soft hues bordered by local detailing in brick and stone.  Terracotta roof tiles will enhance the mellow and traditional character of the scheme and a choice of furniture packages will enhance the chic French feel from within.  Most homes will also have an ‘integrated’ private swimming pool and the four apartments are clustered around a shared pool.

House prices in the leaseback scheme with a 20% tax refund are as follows: 1 bedroom start at €335,400 (approx. £275,600), 2 bedroom start at €333,250 (approx. £273,800), 3 bedroom start at €491,920 (approx. £404,100), 4 bedroom start at €648,440 (approx. £532,700), 5 bedroom start at €782,600 (approx. £642,900).  A limited number of 2 and 3 bedroom apartments are also available starting at €371,090 (approx. £304,900).  *All prices are net (after VAT refund) and a mandatory annual charge includes management charge and country club membership.


Editors Notes:
Environ Communities
:Environ Communities Ltd is a multi award-winning company operating in the UK specialising in producing luxury, contemporary homes for discerning buyers across the south of England from Kent to Cornwall.  Founder, Tony Dowse specialises in historic environments developing schemes with immense sensitivity paying particular attention to local colours, materials and techniques but using modern sustainable methods.  A particular feature of any Environ development is the quality of the landscaping, lovingly produced by Julie Johnson, a multi award winning landscape designer. 

Awards:  International Property Awards – World’s Best International Leisure Development 2013-14

Sales Enquiries: UK Tel: +44 (0)1732 848316 / FRANCE: +33 (0)6 15 54 33 13