Monday, November 28, 2011
2011 French property market review (well kind of)
Sadly though not a week goes by without someone asking me about them. Of course, they expect an answer and they're looking for a pithy summary not an hour long seminar. So, if you were to ring up and pop the question as we approach the end of 2011 what would I say?
Well, let's face it - the UK probably has the brightest and best paid property analysts in the world (it certainly has the most) with more research than you can shake a stick at but they still can't tell us what the average house price is.
The truth is that national house price movements are meaningless. How can you compare Bridlington with Kensington or Caen with Cannes?
Some French agents and institutions have tried to drill down into regions and departments which is more helpful.
Read this article from the French Property portal and you'll be able to get the thoughts of Century 21, Credit Agricole, Notaires de France the FPI and the FNAIM. If you're looking for statistics then this is a great starting point.
However, the truth is that whilst the booming Parisienne property market may well have massaged the figures to show an overall growth in prices in 2011 this hasn't been the case in thousands of micro markets across France (in my case the Charente valley).
I'm dealing with agents, vendors and notaires every day and I can tell you that prices around here haven't really moved during the last 12 months....if anything they have softened slightly.
The houses that I have acquired on behalf of clients this year have, without exception, been bought at a discounted rate to the asking price. Properties in prime areas have been selling, those in secondary locations have been sticking unless they are very competitively priced.
2011 has been a buyers market and - trust me here - 2012 will be one too. That's all you really need to know.
My best advice....if you're looking to buy in France next year then ignore the statisticians and "market reviews" and appoint someone who knows local conditions to be by your side. They will scour the whole market, sift out the dross, collect the comparable evidence and help you buy the house at the lowest possible price.
They should be able to answer your questions on schooling, doctors, restaurants and the best local artisans too. Local knowledge, you just can't beat it.