Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Half a million sales predicted in 2009

Despite the Europe-wide slowdown in property sales, latest predictions from Notaires de France are for around 500,000 sales during 2009, down from 670,000 transactions recorded in 2008. Figures exclude sales of new-build properties.

With regard to prices, as always there are wide variations across France. Houses generally are witnessing the greatest reductions although Paris and some other large towns are holding up well. Surprisingly, Nice is reporting a significant reduction (average 16.4%) in the price of larger apartments, whereas in Marseilles smaller studio apartments have fallen in price by an average of 18.3%. Similar reductions are reported in Bordeaux and Rennes.

However, the regional (Provence/Cote d'Azur) president of the estate agents' association FNAIM says the problem is that of bringing buyers and sellers together, and there is still a widespread unwillingness to commit on either side, resulting in a temporary blockage of the property market.

In my own region of Roussillon, the market has slowed down compared with previous years but there are few dramatic reductions in price as a result. Some properties have been over-valued - usually by their owners - since long before the slowdown, while correctly priced good-value houses and apartments are still selling reasonably well.