Notaires de France has released brand-new data on the French property market, revealing how it performed over the past year and some surprising trends. We provide a round-up of the key points.
A record number of transactions
The data from Notaires de France showed that a record number of real estate transactions took place between August 2020 to August 2021. This period saw 1,208,000 transactions for non-new-build houses and flats, compared with a previous record of 1,123,000 set for the 12-month period ending May 2021.
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Notaires de France cited an ‘extremely fluid market’ and the aftermath of Covid restrictions as reasons for this increase in transactions. The report says that restrictions had enabled people to accelerate or materialize their real estate projects, possibly due to a change of perspective, a change of work conditions and an increase in savings.
Like in the UK, France has seen many buyers leave the city for smaller towns and villages. The pandemic has prompted many to move from large metropolitan centres to smaller municipalities, and some have even simply moved to neighbouring departments. Despite this, the report points out that this only applies to a minority of the population – most people have stayed put.
It also notes that many who move seek “connected disconnection” – moving away from the big city to somewhere with a more ‘rural’ feel, but with a good internet connection for remote working and amenities nearby. So, this small migration has generally benefitted small and medium-sized towns that are well-connected. Remote villages or those in ‘white’ areas with no internet connection are generally of no interest to those moving away from the city.
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As more people favour smaller towns, there has been a drop in prices in large urban areas, particularly in Paris.
However, prices increased by 2% or more in most areas in the second quarter of this year. For example, the median price of an old house in Brest, Brittany has risen by 16.7% over the second quarter. In contrast to this, prices in the city of Metz have fallen by 7.9%.
It’s no surprise that Brest in Brittany is shooting up in price. Situated right on the coast and surrounded by countryside, it’s the perfect place for city dwellers to relocate or for a second home. It’s also a straightforward journey from Brest to Paris, with a direct train taking around 3.5 hours.
In some areas of Brittany, house prices have risen by more than 40% since the beginning of the pandemic as France’s city dwellers continue to flee to the countryside.