A freelance travel photographer who spent years saving her money is convinced now is the time to move to the city that stole her heart -- Paris. She brings a friend along to help search for a spacious apartment that can double as a photography studio, but they quickly realize finding such a place is nearly impossible.
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Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
Le vieux Nice
Starting out the new year in Nice, I'm about to embark on a search for an apartment for one of our clients to use occasionally until she retires and eventually moves to France for perhaps the rest of her life. We've identified the districts in which she'd like to live and as of tomorrow, will be visiting over a dozen apartments within one to two days — a very ambitious, but hopefully productive, plan.
Her budget is 300,000€ or under for a one bedroom apartment, an easy goal for central Nice with many to chose from as the market is flush with properties at the moment. The market is influenced by many factors, one of which is population growth or decline. I found it interesting that both Paris and Nice are losing population, although the population of older inhabitants of Nice is growing.
When looking at cities, or "communes," but not metropolitan areas in France, Paris is the largest city in France (statistics from 2015) with a population of 2,206,488, followed by #2 Marseille with 861,635, #3 Lyon with 513,275, #4 Toulouse with 471,941 and #5 Nice with 342,522.
PARIS WILL ALWAYS BE PARIS, BUT IT'S DWINDLING
Panorama of Montparnasse, Paris
The French capital loses 12,000 inhabitants every year, according to the INSEE (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques). The population as of January 1, 2016 was 2,190,327, having lost 0.5% per year since 2011, even though between 2006 and 2011, it gained 14,000 inhabitants. Sadly, the city is the only department in the Ile-de-France to lose population.
There are several reasons for this:
1) The aging population — higher deaths, fewer births, fewer women of childbearing age.
2) The decline in net migration explained by the high cost of housing and the problem of the Paris housing shortage. Families are moving into the suburbs for larger, more affordable accommodations.
3) The increase of tourist furnished rentals, which led to a decrease in the supply of residential housing, especially in central Paris. The 19th arrondissement is the only district to gain residents with an increase of two percent.
The INSEE predicts that there will be a demographic recovery by 2025 with the millennials born in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Other departments in the Paris region are increasing, with 12,117,132 inhabitants as of January 2016, an increase of four percent.
By 2050, according to the INSEE, if trends continue, Paris would have a population of 2,233,000, a level close to that of 2013. Initially, the current decline trend would last until the middle of the next decade. Then, the capital would regain inhabitants and despite a less pronounced aging process, the population of Paris would remain older than that of the rest of the region.
NICE IS NICEST FOR THE RETIREES
Nice and the Côte d'Azur is losing population in some areas, but growing in others, particularly with the seniors. Forty-nine municipalities in the metropolitan region are oriented toward tourism with 538,600 inhabitants as of 2011, 344,100 of which are in Nice alone, but, it faces an aging population. Nearly 15.0% of the dwellings are second homes, compared to 1.1% in comparable territories. The hotel industry is also more vibrant than most with an occupancy rate of 60 per cent.
Lyon, in the South of France
Nice Population by Age
Marseille, in the South of France
Nice Population Trends
Toulouse, in the South of France
What hurts is that half of the inhabitants are over 43 years old, whereas in the comparison territories, this median age is 36 years old. In 2010, more than one-fifth (21.8 percent) of the city's population was 65 years old or older (compared to only 14.6% elsewhere). Therefore the region has more inhabitants aged 65 or over than young people under 20 years of age.
Between 1962 and 1990, the population of metropolitan Nice increased from 368,200 to 508,900 inhabitants — an increase of nine percent per year. For twenty years, this demographic dynamism has been running out of steam. The pace of growth increased over twelve years from five percent per year between 1999 and 2006 to a decrease of one percent per year between 2006 and 2011, losing 3,000 inhabitants.
There are several reasons for this:
1) There are fewer student arrivals. Only young people from 17 to 21 years-old are more likely to settle in the metropolis than to leave, while elsewhere in the country this is true for up to 25 years-old.
2) Families are moving away from the coast in search of larger accommodations at a lower cost. More are willing to work from home or commute to work.
3) Executive jobs are less represented than in other territories. These jobs, related to design-research functions, intellectual services, business-to-business commerce, management or culture and leisure, contribute to the attractiveness of a metropolis and their number has only increased by 26 percent in twenty years, while it has more than doubled in comparable territories. Part of this can be explained by the proximity of the Sophia-Antipolis technology park where it is concentrated.
4) The lower attractiveness of students and the lower number of executive jobs offered in the region are accompanied by a lower level of training than in other territories. However, unemployment is not higher than elsewhere.
5) Tax revenue is slightly lower than in other territories due to lower income levels, particularly in Nice, and the proportion of HLM housing (government subsidized housing) is significantly lower than in comparable territories.
According to the different projection scenarios, the population of the Nice-Côte d'Azur metropolis would evolve between a drop of 40,400 inhabitants and an increase of 9,500 inhabitants within twenty years. While the trends indicate a population decrease of one percent per year, the number of households would increase by two percent per year, causing a need for housing, due to less cohabitation (separation, divorce, etc.). What's predicted is that the population of 65 years-old and over will increase representing 28.1 percent of the population (+29,000 by 2030) and those over 80 years-old will increase by more than 30 percent (+13,000).
What's important about this information from a real estate perspective is understanding the trends to help make good investment decisions. Does it mean that Paris will have properties to burn if it's losing population? And if Nice is attracting more retirees, will apartments be harder to come by? Of course, population trends are not the only factors contributing to the laws of supply and demand, but do affect them.
For now, Paris will always be Paris and Nice will always be nice. I am personally addicted to both!
Renee, a world-renowned photographer who specializes in nude photography, and her wife, Wendy, are leaving Los Angeles to establish their business in Europe. They are looking for a place to both work and live in the Languedoc region of France.
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