Broadening Your French Property Horizons
Volume XIX, Issue 13
The pandemic has changed our lives, there is no doubt about that. Perhaps not for forever, but certainly for now and the next several years. Just like Americans living in urban areas who are now seeking more suburban areas where they can have more land and more space, so are the French. They are moving away from Paris and other big cities in France to villages and the countryside…as long as they can work remotely…which isn’t everyone, but for more and more people.
According to a recent article in The Local, a study conducted a year ago during the first lock-down found that only 23 percent of people spent their time in a property larger than 101 square meters (1087.15 square feet). In Paris, 69 percent were confined inside an apartment…and I was one of them.
As a result of finding ourselves cooped-up during the gorgeous spring weather in such small spaces, mostly without any outdoor space at all, many people began to seek alternatives. A study made by Seloger.com claims that more than one-third of future buyers are heading for the hills…at least away from the cities and out to greener pastures. They aren’t inching very far, however—Parisians are heading to the suburbs while those who are already in the suburbs are moving a bit further into other adjacent regions.
These are the working French, and not our North American clients, however, according to the studies non-resident buyers are shifting their focus, too. As a result, prices in Paris have dropped slightly (1 percent), breaking a serious trend upwards for the last several years (31.4 percent the last five years). Industry professionals are saying the trend will continue and that Paris will see prices drop even more.
Outdoor space has clearly become a high priority. LeBonCoin.fr claims that searches on its site for properties promoting a garden, or balcony, or “near the sea” have increased by 40 percent over the previous year. Properties in Paris with even as much as a small balcony will command higher prices now that demand is up. Having a balcony or terrace can increase the price of a property in Paris by almost a s much as 10 percent.
Special Note: the value of a balcony or terrace is counted at one-third to one-half of the price per square meter of the surface area of the apartment. That was prior to the pandemic, meaning that it’s possible it counts for even more now!
Space is also heavily sought-after, now that those working from home need additional space from which to work without interruption. It’s not fun to be at the kitchen table while the kids are running around and you’re trying to focus…which many have found challenging during lock-down. Paris apartments are hardly set up for such a luxury.
The French have turned a real corner because of confinement logistics and are seeking homes instead of apartments that might have noisy neighbors. According to Seloger.com, 70 percent of the French dream of having a home with a garden. Orpi.com, one of the country’s largest real estate chains, says that 59 percent of their buyers are now searching for houses. Some are holding on to their urban abodes, but buying second residences to which they can escape during confinement or weekends.
This is all good news for our North American buyers who are still hot on Paris. There may be some deals to be had in the coming months in the City of Light. Even so, we have seen an enormous increase in clients turning south toward Nice and the Côte d’Azur as well as the countryside and villages…like never before. Americans who have always been very Paris-centric, are broadening their horizons and realizing there is more to France than the City of Light.
We can assist our clients anywhere in France—our borders don’t stop at the “Périphérique” (the ring road around Paris), but for a non-resident who will spend only a few weeks or few months a year in France, I am still a proponent of being centrally located, near an international airport and within a vibrant American community for having a truly fabulous lifestyle. On top of that, the maintenance and upkeep of a single family home for a non-resident can be daunting…so if you opt for urbanity as I suggest, seek some outdoor space so you can have the best of both worlds.
The Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. If you are considering a property purchase in France, don’t do it lightly. Let us help you make the smartest decisions to ensure you make the best investment you can. Contact us to learn more!