Monday, November 26, 2012

French property market 2012 and prospects for 2013

It's that time of year again - industry folk look back over the last 12 months and make predictions for 2013.

The former is relatively easy but the latter is simply a case of wetting your finger and sticking it in the wind....who knows what will happen to the European economy, the euro itself or the effects of the changes and austerity measures being introduced by our new President.

Let's start with 2012.

On a macro level it looks as though the overall number of French property sales will be around 650,000 which is quite a drop on the 790,000 we saw in 2011.  The market definitely slowed in 2012 and despite the many front page headlines talking about soaring prices in Paris and on the Cote d'Azur I'm dubious that any region is currently showing price growth. 

Latest research from the Notaires de France says that some areas buck the trend and they quote Limoges as seeing a 7% rise, Toulouse an increase of 4.5% and Lille rises of 2.9%.....don't forget though that these figures are already well out of date and I'd take them with a healthy pinch of salt.

Closer to home I'm certainly seeing plenty of local agents dropping prices from what were pretty optimistic levels.  I'm not saying that prices are in freefall or anything dramatic like that but it seems to me that a) only properties in the best locations are selling and b) they have to be priced realistically to do so.

Forecasting anything for 2013 is pretty much a lottery and my family & friends all know that my ability at tipping stocks, shares or the winner of the X Factor is dire.

However, I'd be surprised if transaction numbers for 2013 weren't between the 600-650,000 range, ie showing another slight decrease and another tough year for those of us who earn our money in this arena.

I'm not going to forecast anything to do with prices as the conflicting figures we are presented by the notaires, FNAIM, INSEE and others are meaningless.

What I will say though is that I don't think we'll see many areas being touted as having rises or falls of more than a few percent.  I sense a pretty flat market which, given what is going on in the rest of the world, may not be a bad thing.

As I have said before, international buyers come to France for a mixture of reasons - around 40,000 of them bought in France last year and I'd predict that this number won't change much either way this year.  The sunshine, great food, world class wine and welcoming culture are happily pretty much recession proof!


Alison Morton said...

Very balanced post, Graham.

France has the abiding attractions of food, wine, sunshine and (certainly in the Poitou-Charentes and Loire Valley)a relaxed and approachable attitude to life.

People work hard, but they always remember it's work to live not live to work - an enduring attraction in a stressful world.

Bill Tickle said...

Good comment. As an estate agent mainly working in Spain but looking at buying in France can I make an observation. In hard times it is impossible to talk about the "market". Instead it is all about individual circumstances. Most people won't come down in price, even if the experts say the market is down because they don't want to take a loss or their mortgage creates a floor they can't go below. The sales that do happen, occur where people NEED to sell for whatever reason. These people will often have to sell at well below the "market" value.

The main effect therefore of bad times is falling volume rather than swingeing across the board price cuts.

Val d'Isere said...

In December, many people makes predictions for the upcoming year. French property rates are really falling from year to year and I hope it won't fall this time. Hence, it's always better to charge the realistic prices for the properties.

Andy said...

France is growing in terms of population and it is a more popular place for wine, nature and scenic beauty. Lets hope that french property rates goes up in the upcoming year.

Lee Shin said...

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Lee Shin