Monday, July 13, 2015

Simplifying the rules when buying a French apartment

Following the widespread criticism of the loi Alur, the French government has announced imminent changes to the procedures for buying and selling apartments and other types of property situated within a co-ownership complex or condominium.

Under the loi Alur, promoted by the then housing minister Cecile Duflot, owners are asked to provide large amounts of extra documentation detailing the history of the building in which the property is situated, including any works undertaken and planned, and detailed accounts going back several years. These have to be provided by the syndic (the building managers) before a would-be purchaser signs a pre-contract ('compromis de vente') and at which point he/she is entitled to withdraw - creating additional costs for the owner/vendor for the work needed to compile the dossier.

The new procedures have created serious delays, of up to three or more months, before the 'compromis' can be prepared and hopefully signed, and in some cases have increased the number of documents required from 30 to 300 or more pages.

No detailed information about the proposed changes is as yet available and is awaited in a decree promised for mid-September. The only detail announced is that documents may be sent in electronic form rather than hard copy, but their is no indication about how the quantity may be reduced. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How to target your French property sale

Some interesting figures on patterns of movement within France may help give some clues how to successfuly market a property for sale.

There are around 3 million movements of people within France every year. Given the rate of annual property transactions at up to 800 000, that represents two to four people on average per household, which seems about right.

Of these 93% move no further than within their own region! The reasons for this include:

- the lack of jobs to be found elsewhere;

- one of the spouses being the principal or only wage earner;

- children at school or at a critical stage such as a first job or apprenticeship;

- extended family commitments from babysitting by grand-parents to caring for elderly or sick family members.

There are only two regions of France which are growing as a result of incomers from outside the region - Provence/Côte d'Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon. The new arrivals are predominantly retirees ( from among the estimated 10 million baby boomers from the post-war years) who are not seeking work - Languedoc-Roussillon has above average unemployment locally. These potential purchasers have funds in hand from the sale of their home in the (former) industrial areas and a secure pension, and are seeking a retirement home in the sun. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Renting to students

Between now and the autumn, some 1.4 students in France will be searching for accommodation at the start of the academic year. Due to the scarcity of student hostels in France, the majority will be lodging in the private sector or living at home with their parents -many students opting to go to the university nearest to them rather than in another part of France, unless their chosen course is highly specilaised. A recent article in LeFigaro* described the student rental market as follows:

Private rented accommodation - 28%
Living at home with parents - 27%
Sharing ('colocation') - 12%
Cité Universitaire - 11% (165 000)
Student residence - 8% (110 000)
Other - 5%
Family owned property - 3%
Linked to job - 1%

The minimum monthly rental in Paris is likely to be 750 euros, slightly less at 500 euros in cities such as Lille, Lyon or Marseilles; and a minimum of 300 euros elsewhere.

If you happen to own a rental apartment that is also close to a holiday resort, you may be able to let it also during the high season (July, August) when students are on holiday. A typical weekly rental would be about the same level as the monthly charge out of season, as a very rough guide.