French rents have dropped by just under 1 per cent in 2009 following more than a decade of annual increases, according to a report in today's Le Figaro.
Overall since 1998 the average rent has risen by 41% and the slight fall in 2009 is the first for over a decade. Nonetheless, rentals remain at their highest in Paris and Ile de France at an average 17 euros per m² for a typical 50m² apartment, which now costs some 825 euros monthly. This is followed by Nice and the Cote d'Azur where a typical rental is 600 euros per month for 50m².
Cheapest area to rent in France is Limousin (the area around Limoges) at 420 euros for a 50m² apartment - half the price of Paris. In Languedoc-Roussillon typical rents are between 500 and 525 euros for a 50m² apartment (ie 10 to 10.5 euros per square metre).
Studios and very small properties have generally not been affected by the slight reduction in rents, and as noted in the article below tend to cost more than the average price per square metre of a larger space.
Uncertainty about the future and fears of job loss have helped restrain peoples' decision to move, although some 1.5 million new leases have been signed on new properties and renewals, so far during 2009.
Addendum: A separate survey in the French journal Capital (September 2009) notes that in some areas of France reductions in annual rents can be as high as 7% - particularly in the case of larger properties (4 rooms) but in reality even these represent a reduction of only 9 - 15 euros annually per square metre.