Sales and enquiries about property in France are increasing as the latest figures suggest that prices have bottomed out.
The latest figures from the FNAIM, the national estate agent’s organisation, show that prices fell 1.2% in August compared with 1.8% in July suggesting that values are stabilising. Overall the figures show that in the last 12 months prices of apartments have fallen 7.2% and house are down 8.9%.
What the figures also show is that in the last year the property market in France has been much less volatile than that of its neighbours in the UK and Spain.
‘French property has not been hit as badly by the global economic downturn as other countries. Now prices are very much moving towards stabilisation,’ said a FAIM spokesman.
Others in the industry are also encouraged. According to Athena Mortgages, which has offices in London and Paris, there has been a significant rise in inquiries from property investors seeking finance to buy in France. It saw an 18% rise in mortgage enquiry levels during August and a 9% rise in actual mortgage applications.
Sextant French Property Agents have also seen a rise in inquiries, up 30% in August relative to July, and sales are a significant 15% higher.
The area of France that is most popular with British buyers at present is the West. In Brittany, enquiry levels from British buyers were up 25% in August, and these buyers are mainly looking for older properties that are in need of redecoration and refurbishment. The average sale price in Brittany is currently €130,000. Poitou-Charentes and the Dordogne are also popular.
‘There’s a feeling among prospective buyers of French property that we’re now in the bottom of the trough and that if they don’t make the move soon, they will lose out on some of the most competitive prices to be had in a long, long time. This is reflected in the growing number of estate agent enquiries and mortgage applications,’ said John Luke Busby, director, Athena Mortgages.
‘The buzz that once surrounded French property is beginning to come back. People now have the chance to buy in at prices that would have been unthinkable a few years back and lock in to very attractive mortgage rates,’ he added.
‘Most enquiries are coming from those targeting properties that need work. They obviously feel that by adding value to a property they will amplify the upside when the market bounces back,’ said Matthieu Cany, managing director, Sextant French Property Agents.