French property sales reach record levels
The number of property sales across France in the 12 months to the end of July was estimated at 839,000, representing an increase of 15% year-onyear, according to the latest market report from Notaires de France which covers the second quarter of 2016. This also exceeded the highest number of transactions previously recorded (834,000 in February 2012). The report also noted that prices have remained stable, while it seems that Brexit has so far had no noticeable impact on British buyers in France.
A suggested explanation for the rise in sales is that buyers are not expecting prices to fall any further and that they consider now to be an opportune time to get a foot on the property ladder as interest rates have reached historic lows.
According to Notaires de France-INSEE figures, resale property prices remained stable between the first and second quarters of 2016, following three consecutive quarters of rising prices.
For the second quarter in a row, resale property prices were up year-on-year – a 0.6% increase was recorded from the same period in 2015. House prices increased by 0.7% while apartment prices increased by 0.5% – the first time the latter had done so in four years.
In Île-de-France, prices increased for the second consecutive quarter (up 0.8% compared with the first quarter).
Outside of Île-de-France, resale prices fell slightly between the first and second quarters (down by 0.5%) after 12 months of rising prices. House prices continued to rise (up 0.6% from Q2 2015 to Q2 2016). The fall in apartment prices reduced between Q1 and Q2 2016 (0.5% down in Q2 vs 0.9% down in Q1).
Average prices continue to vary from department to department, with apartment prices tending to decline while house prices are generally on the rise.
Apartment prices in France’s main cities outside of Île-de-France (for example Bordeaux, Nantes, Toulouse, Marseille, Lille and Strasbourg), have increased by between 1% and 6%, while they have continued to fall in Rennes (-1.2%) and Montpellier (-3.8%).
The number of new-build projects given
the go-ahead for construction in the 12 months to the end of July reached 401,200, a year-on-year increase of 8.3%.
Before Brexit, the British were the largest nationality of foreign buyers of French property, particularly in the second home market. Since the referendum result in June there has been no noticeable impact in the areas that were traditionally popular with British buyers such as the north-west and south-west. The percentage of British buyers purchasing property in France has remained stable so far in 2016, but the report concludes it is too soon to measure any possible impact of Brexit on the French property market.