Now’s the Time to Invest in Paris
I have a feeling that Paris hasn’t been looking very attractive to foreign investors these last few months as Nice has surpassed the City of Light in property seekers, at least on our books. We can only imagine that this is largely because of 1) the recent trend to live in less urban environments post Covid-19; 2) the non-stop demonstrations creating havoc in the streets of the Capital City; 3) the piled-up garbage resulting from the strikes (now fully cleaned up); 4) the dislike of the current mayor and perhaps 5) even the upcoming Olympic Games in 2024 that will clearly affect the city and property values…in what direction we’re not entirely sure. All this may make Paris a questionable investment…but it’s not true.
If you’ve put Paris on the back burner for any of these reasons, then think again. Let’s look at each of the possible reasons Paris may not be top of your list anymore:
1) Sure, when we were confined to our apartments, with only one hour allowed outside and no further than one kilometer away, we all dreamed of wide open spaces and fresh oxygen in our lungs without wearing masks. That was then and this is now. Now that so many are living out in the countryside working from home, with nothing but a sea of green around them, I’ll bet they will become bored out of their minds. I would be! Imagine, no little cafés to hang out in, no great restaurants a walk away, no wonderful exhibitions to lift your spirits, none of the latest movies without a long drive away, etc, etc., etc. And getting into the city has become a real hassle. With nothing to do, but work and stare at the greenery, these folks who moved out will likely be rethinking in no time at all. When I was living in East Tennessee on three acres of wooded property, in a home that had everything, that’s what I did—I went stark raving mad from the lack of culture. It became a gilded cage, so, mark my words…they will be back! Time will tell.
2) Of course there will always be demonstrations in Paris. The French love to be heard loud and clear and they have a tradition of “solidarité” so that even if they don’t agree with the demonstrators, they show their support by joining in. (I swear this is true.) I have participated in many myself, and have found the events to be really fun, so it’s not surprising why the French, old and young alike, continue to get on the streets and cause this kind of revelry. But be careful not to take a news report that replays the same video footage many times over and believe that’s what’s really happening…it was a moment captured that gets regurgitated over and over again, making it seem like a much bigger deal than it really is (or was). I live near Place de la République where most of the protests take place and it has rarely affected my habits. Sometimes my street is cordoned off or the buses aren’t running, but besides that, the demonstrations haven’t affected my daily life at all. If you’re worried about violence…think again. The word “violence” in France has a very different meaning than “violence” Stateside. Remember, the French are not sporting guns or other weapons, so “violence” might mean a car gets burned or store windows get broken, but people aren’t getting murdered. Do you realize how much safer you are here in general?
3) Yeah, the garbage was disgusting. And yes, the rat population grew. That was only during the strikes. My neighborhood had private trash pick-up, so it was always clean. It’s over now—the trash is picked up and Paris is as clean as might ever get (not that it’s as clean as we’d like). And have you ever noticed the garbage and the rats in New York City? It’s always shocking to me how the bags get piled up on the street, not in special containers (like they are in Paris), not picked up daily…and they are not on strike! Take your pick…which city do you think is cleaner?
4) You’re right, I really dislike Mayor Anne Hidalgo. Everyone I know does, and the statistics prove it. Statistica.com revealed the public opinion towards Anne Hidalgo in France from November 2018 to November 2022 as rather bad: 28 percent of the French had a good opinion of the mayor of Paris in November 2022, while 63 percent of French people had a bad opinion of her. Fortunately, we’re on the downside of her “reign.” She only has three years to go until her term is up. Three years can feel like an eternity, but in a city that’s been around for centuries, three years is a drop in the bucket. We’re all hoping we can elect a new mayor who will make good decisions and bring the city back to the glory it deserves.
5) What will happen to the city during, and more importantly after, the Olympic Games in 2024? First off, accommodations for the Olympic teams and their fans will be at a premium. Thanks to the strict short-term rental laws, it’s going to be interesting to see if the supply will be enough to fill the demand or if the city will struggle to find visitors’ housing. If you own a property in Paris and intend to be gone as I do, then maybe you will want to rent it, in spite of the anti-rental laws? Just rent for a one-month minimum and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Meanwhile, Paris is a non-risk investment.
In this January 2023 article by Eurostart Enterprises, in which I am quoted (I just discovered it), they agree with my assessment that now is the right time to buy real estate in Paris! Be sure to read it to learn why “With Paris becoming the host of the Olympics in 2024, prices in both the rental and sales market are likely to see a considerable rise in the next few years. There has already been a boost to the city’s short-term rentals, despite the games being a good six months away, with prices being hiked up to almost 20 times the going rate for people booking ahead of time.”
Here’s another article to sink your teeth into by Le Monde. Prices in the City of Light have declined, but mostly due to the rise in interest rates, affecting the previous high levels of growth. This won’t last long, in my opinion, which is why now is a great time to invest.
When I invested in my apartment in 2000, I didn’t do it for the investment, but simply to have a place to live. Real estate at the time was at a low, so I lucked out and paid only about 3,000€ per square meter for my Marais apartment. That apartment is now worth about five times that. As the value increased, I was able to take equity release loans to purchase more properties, and did so—four more, all based on my initial investment. With about 40,000€ as the original down payment, I was able to amass more than 3€ million value in property…all within 11 years! Where else could I have done that?
Keep in mind that Paris can’t go up and it can’t go out. There are 20 districts and a ring road that keeps it contained. Even with growth in the suburbs, that makes the center city even more valuable, not less. Properties that are 100 years old and older will always hold their value, as long as they are well-maintained and that constitutes most of the structures in the city. The available property is therefore limited. On top of that, there is a housing shortage, making it even more valuable in the long run.
Paris will always be Paris: the world’s most visited city, the world’s most beautiful city, the world’s most romantic city…and why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?
If you can afford it, make Paris a part of your life. I did that 28 years ago and never regretted it for one second. You won’t either.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®