Wednesday, January 4, 2012

French property market 2012?

Several of the major French agency groupings (Century 21, Guy Hoquet, Era France) have together offered their thoughts on how the French property market is likely to perform in 2012.

According to Laurent Vimont of Centry21 and Philippe Buyens of Guy Hoquet, overall property sales are likely to fall to around to 600 000 transactions in the 12 months to December 2012, though Vimont also predicts some price rises (2 - 3 per cent on average). This is borne out by other recent surveys suggesting some price reductions, as always highly variable according to different regions - my own, Languedoc Roussillon, for example remaining stable (and recently described by the UK Times newspaper as France's new 'cote d'azur').

Era France have spoken of price falls of up to 9% in 2012 and a reduction in the numberof transactions of around 8% compared with 2011.

Various commentators have expressed different views on the potentially adverse effects of the French presidential elections (investors do not like uncertainty) and the European rescue plan for the euro. Though many argue that these factors tend to encourage investment in bricks and mortar. Interest rates remain comparatively low (4%) though as in the United Kingdom first time buyers face difficulties in saving for a deposit (due to the high cost of renting while they save) and the increasing demands of the banks for larger deposits. 

Note however that average prices for an apartment have risen by a staggering 125% between 2000 and 2011, and overall property prices (excluding new-builds) still rose by nearly 8% in 2011- well ahead of inflation. 03 January 2012