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November 2017

Exceptional French property sales at record high

Published: Wednesday 29 November 2017

By Adrian Bishop

French annual property sales have reached a record high of 921,000, new figures show.

The total for the 12 months to the end of June 2017 – the latest available – was more than 100,000 higher than the year before, the Notaires de France report reveals.

“Such volumes are exceptional. As a reminder, 691,000 transactions were recorded over twelve months in February 2015, 652,000 transactions in February 2013, and even 564,000 in August 2009, at the peak of the subprime mortgage crisis.
“As long as rates are low and prices remain reasonable in certain sectors and for certain goods, rates will continue to have a stimulating effect; this is a bullish market in which people feel that they can or even should buy, as rates are low and before prices rise again. People are again buying with a hope of a capital gain.
“Once again, the French have confidence in real estate, which nevertheless remains a users’ market, users whose confidence is restored in the future of bricks and mortar.”
The biggest annual increase of 4.9% came in sales of older apartments in Greater Paris, while older property sales there rose 3.9% and older houses 1.9%.

In Mainland France, older apartment sales were up 3.9%, older properties 3.2% and older houses 2.7%. In the French provinces, sales rose 3%, with older properties and apartments both increasing 2.9%.

Low prices in the provinces, stemming from the 2008 market drop and cheap finance, helped to boost sales, the report says.

Median prices per square metre of older apartments in most departments rose in the second quarter of 2017. Corse-du-Sud posted the highest annual rise at 21.7%, this was followed by Bourges (13.8%) Bordeaux (+12.1%). Other climbers included Le Mans (+8.7%), Rennes (+8.6%), Brest (+8.5%), Rouen (+8%) and Nantes (+7.8%).
But there were exceptions, including Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (apartments -10%, houses -5%), Loir-et-Cher (apartments -3%, houses -4%), Manche (apartments -14%, houses -3%) and Yonne (apartments -10%, houses -5%).
In main provincial towns and cities, in older apartments, annual falls were posted in Dijon (-3.5%), Saint-Etienne (-0.7%), Le Havre (-0.1%) and Orléans (-0.1%).
In the main provincial urban centres, prices of older houses mostly rose. Bordeaux (+9.8%) and Le Mans (+9.6%) recorded the sharpest rises, followed by Nancy and Orléans on +8%.
In contrast, Rouen, Dunkirk, Saint-Nazaire and Lille saw drops of 2%-3% a year.
In Paris, which is a market within a market, median selling prices of older houses rose 1.9%.
Looking ahead, sales volumes are expected to stabilse, which should help price control, says Notaires de France.

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