Slow and steady

Living France - - LES PRATIQUES - knight­

Anew re­port re­leased by real es­tate con­sul­tancy firm Knight Frank sug­gests a solid re­turn of sta­bil­ity to the French prop­erty mar­ket, with a sig­nif­i­cant up­turn in sales dur­ing 2015, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the last quar­ter, sig­nalling a con­tin­u­a­tion of the trend.

How­ever, with mar­ket re­cov­ery still rel­a­tively fresh, the prop­erty ex­perts have no­ticed a marked dif­fer­ence in buy­ers’ de­mands and re­quire­ments as they emerge from the credit cri­sis.

Buy­ers, still re­luc­tant to take any real sig­nif­i­cant risk, have shown an in­creased in­ter­est in in­vest­ing in prop­er­ties with work­ing as­sets; prop­erty that can po­ten­tially cover its costs and bring in re­turns. With a strong rental de­mand, buy­ers are in­creas­ingly seek­ing rentap­pro­pri­ate prop­erty; in par­tic­u­lar prop­erty that is turnkey ready with no need for struc­tural work and any le­gal com­pli­ca­tions al­ready ironed out.

While some po­ten­tial buy­ers are still hold­ing back, many oth­ers are keen to go ahead with a prop­erty pur­chase. Where prices are right, prop­er­ties are at­tract­ing mul­ti­ple bids and are achiev­ing the ask­ing price for the first time in five years.

Among Knight Frank’s buy­ers, of whom 56% are Bri­tish, the south of France and the Alps re­main the most sought-af­ter des­ti­na­tions for a prop­erty pur­chase.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from No­taires de France, res­i­den­tial sales across France in­creased by 12.5% year-on-year while Knight Frank re­ported a dou­bling of sales be­tween 2014 and 2015 and as a more sta­ble eco­nomic out­look pre­vailed, the es­tate agency re­ported a rise of 87% on en­quiries from prospec­tive buy­ers in 2015.

Ac­cord­ing to No­taires de France fig­ures, house prices in­creased for the third quar­ter in a row, while the num­ber of trans­ac­tions in­creased by 100,000 in 2015 to reach 809,000. This rep­re­sented a rise of 16%.

The big­gest in­crease in house prices oc­curred in Château­roux, cap­i­tal of the In­dre depart­ment with an av­er­age re­sale house price of €120,000, an in­crease of 20%. House prices in Greno­ble saw the largest de­cline with an av­er­age re­sale price of €291,000, a fall of 13.9%.

There was a marked de­cline in apart­ment prices across France, with the largest drop recorded in Bourges (-11.4%).

A re­newed sense of op­ti­mism, that looks likely to re­main, is be­ing at­trib­uted to favourable mort­gage rates, a sta­b­lis­ing of prices in prime mar­kets and the weak­en­ing of the euro against the pound.

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