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.
It’s no secret that the pandemic has changed property buying habits in many countries and France is no exception. Like in the UK, people have fled the cities to work remotely in rural areas, causing house prices to rise in unprecedented ways.
Much like the residents of London, New York and other capital cities, many Parisians have decided to head northwest, with Brittany proving to be a firm favourite.
This new trend is also evident in Paris’ property prices, where city centre homes have fallen by 1.5% in one year. A survey by the University of Paris and King’s College London asked 1,000 Paris residents about their living plans. It found that around 47% of Parisians think that the city is too expensive and 43% believe that they could find a better quality of life elsewhere.
Brittany has grown in popularity for a number of reasons, including its transport links. Those who may need to travel into Paris for work occasionally would make good use of the highspeed train line. You can get from Rennes to Paris in as little as 1 hour 30 minutes, with trains leaving every 30 minutes. To travel by road, the N12 connects Brittany directly to Paris, although the drive will take at least 4 hours.
It also goes without saying that the region is diverse and beautiful, with stunning beaches, charming towns and plenty of luscious countryside. Anne Fercoq-Lenguen, president of the chamber of notaires in Côtes-d’Armor told Ouest-France that in the Côtes-d’Armor, coastal areas have proved the most popular, but central areas have also seen an increase in popularity.
Brittany had long been looked down on by other areas for its slightly wet and gloomy weather. However, in recent years this has improved, possibly due to climate change, and the region now experiences warm summers and sunny days. Some even prefer the moderate climate in Brittany to the scorching summers in the south.
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According to data from real estate aggregator Meilleurs Agents, prices in Brittany, grew 13.5% over the past two years. This data also revealed that they’ve risen 7.2% to €2,996 per square meter in the past year.
As expected, properties on the coast are generally more expensive than those inland. In terms of departments, the average house prices are currently € 1,630/m² in Finistère, €1,480/m² in the Côtes-d’Armor, € 2,180/m² in Morbihan and € 2290/ m² in Ille et Vilaine.
Despite rising prices, Brittany is still cheaper compared to many areas in France, particularly those in the south.
Outpricing the locals
In a similar vein to areas such as Cornwall in the UK, there has been some controversy surrounding this mass relocation and a rise in second homes in Brittany. Many are concerned that rising prices for holiday homes are preventing locals from getting on the property ladder, prompting local politicians to call for measures to address this.
One idea championed by Nil Caouissin, councillor for Union Démocratique Bretonne, was to only allow people who have lived in the area for a year to buy a home. Such measures are yet to be put into place, but if house prices continue to rise, the discussion surrounding this could continue.