Thursday, January 28, 2010

French property market compared to USA, UK

Articles in today's 'Le Figaro' (France) and Daily Telegraph (UK) highlight the differences between the French property market and the situation in USA and UK.

After two stagnant months immediately prior to Christmas, figures indicate that the total number of US new-property transactions reached only 342,000 for the entire year, not far from the figures for France, a country one-fifth of the size of the USA. There is now an estimated eight months supply of unsold new-build properties on the US market.

Sales of older properties are down by nearly 17 per cent on previous years. Price falls averaged over 5 per cent in November and 7.3 per cent in October. Other signs of decline include new-starts and the number of planning applications for new residential properties.

According to the Telegraph, Britain's main problem continues to be the cost of mortgages, including arranging fix-rate deals (usually over a short term) and the shocks that await those who will emerge from a period of fixed rate interest in the coming months and face adjustments to their monthly mortgage repayments.

In a short report on French consumer spending habits during the recession, Le Figaro notes that among the products that have suffered worst are ready-prepared meals, sticky sweets, chewing gum and hair colorants; while consumption of hard liquor, coffee doses for machines, fruit cordials and canned energy drinks such as Red Bull  (38% up!) all rose during 2009.

Sources: Daily Telegraph (incl photo), Le Figaro 28 January 2009.