Property, travel and events
Optimism is soaring among French estate agents and property developers with more than four out of five feeling upbeat about the coming year, new research shows.
Back in 2015, only 35% of professionals working in the French property market felt positive about the year ahead, but this proportion has climbed steeply to hit 82% in the latest survey by Crédit Foncier/csa.
Sent out every four months, the ‘professional morale barometer’ asks 400 professionals across the country, including estate agents, developers and property managers, to reflect on the past four months.
An impressive 86% of respondents in the latest survey thought the property market had improved or stabilised between May and September this year.
More than a quarter thought prices would rise in the next year, especially for new-builds, though the majority thought they would stay roughly the same. Only 6% of respondents thought new-build prices would fall, while 16% thought there would be a drop in prices for older ‘resale’ homes.
The research findings ring true for Leggett Immobilier, a British-led agency with offices across France. “Morale couldn’t be higher,” said company chairman Trevor Leggett. “Our sales support team are taking 9,000 fresh enquiries a month, which is the highest I’ve known in 20 years. The domestic market has bounced back at last and international buyers are taking advantage of bargain property prices and cheap financing.”
The sense of optimism was widespread across France, but higher than average around Paris and slightly lower in the south-west where one in five respondents was pessimistic about the next 12 months.
Continuing low mortgage rates were the main cause for celebration along with the dynamism in the market and the general economic climate.
Of the 17% of professionals who remained pessimistic, most cited uncertainty around the continuance of government measures to stimulate the market, such as financial support for first-time buyers.
A record 907,000 homes changed hands in France in the year ending May 2017 – a 10% increase on the previous year, according to the latest figures from Notaires de France. This comfortably beats the previous high set before the global financial crisis, though not quite if you take into consideration the estimated 1% rise in the housing stock every year due to new construction projects.
There is no shortage of properties on the market, but those that are available are selling more quickly than in recent years, say the Notaires de France.
However, Laura Parsons, of currency brokers TORFX , sounded a cautionary note. “Demand for French property from British nationals may be subdued in the first half of 2018 if limited progress in Brexit negotiations keeps the pound-to-euro exchange rate depressed,” she said. “However, if discussions take a turn for the better, and the Bank of England’s expected rate hike also lends sterling support, foreign investment in French property is likely to rise next year as a higher GBP/EUR exchange rate helps buyers get more for their money.”
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