The latest quarterly report on property prices and trends in France has been published by the official network of notaires.
It primarily shows property statistics from the third quarter of 2021, covering July 1 until September 30. It also looks back at data from the end of 2020, where no newer figures are available.
This property information is the fullest available as it takes into account all property sales and pre-sales that occur in France rather than data from individual estate agents.
It takes several months to compile, hence why the latest one showing last year’s third quarter has only recently been published.
Here, we pick out eight key points from the report, including how Brexit is affecting sales, and where prices have increased and decreased the most for non-new builds.
See the report in full (in French) here.
British still biggest foreign buyers…but only just
The British are still the main foreign buyers of second homes in France, making up 22% of sales, data from the end of 2020 shows.
However, this is a significant drop since 2015, when British buyers made up 34% of the market, much higher than the Belgians in second place, who at the time made up 14% of buyers.
By the end of 2020, Belgians had narrowed the gap and made up 20% of purchases of second homes in France.
The Germans were third with 9%, followed by the Swiss and Dutch (both with 7%).
Brexit rules kicked in properly on January 1, 2021, meaning after this data was gathered.
British citizens are now only entitled to spend 90 out of 180 days in an EU country without a longer-term visa, which may put off some buyers of second homes.
It could be then that soon, with the added complications caused by Brexit, Belgians usurp the British as the biggest foreign buyers of second homes in France.
Overall decrease in number of foreign second-home buyers
The proportion of foreign buyers of second homes in France reached its lowest level for 10 years in 2020.
Whether this is related to Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic, or both, is not specified in the notaires’ report.
In 2020, 1.3% of second homes were bought by people who were not residents in France. This is compared to 1.7% in 2010.
This trend is predicted to continue in the first quarter of 2022, with the notaires expecting the proportion of foreign buyers of second homes to be no higher than 1.2%.
Foreign second-home buyers going bigger and more rural
Despite decreasing rates of foreign second-home buyers, those that are tempted into holiday homes in France are increasingly going for larger properties located more rurally.
Outside of Ile-de-France, the average size of second homes bought by foreigners has increased from 77 square metres to 95 square metres in the past 10 years. French buyers have only bought second homes on average two square metres bigger in the same period.
In addition, buyers are increasingly looking at rural areas. In 2010, 48% of foreign buyers of second homes (outside of Ile-de-France) went for an urban property, compared to 38% in 2019 and 36% in 2020.
Where are house prices increasing / decreasing the most?
Overall, the price of non-new build houses in France (not including overseas territories) has increased almost everywhere in the past year.
More specifically, prices increased the most in Angers, rising 19.3% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to 2020. The median house price there is now €300,000. See main article picture (bottom left) for an image of Angers.
Southern Corsica (Corse-du-Sud) had the next biggest increase (18.4%), taking median prices up to €402,500, followed by Montpellier (13.2%), taking median prices up to €390,000.
On the other end of the spectrum, Orléans was the only place where prices fell (by 0.8%), bringing the median cost down to €227,300.
The cheapest place in France to buy a non-new build house is Châteauroux, with a median price of €131,000. Prices there increased just 1.2% over the course of the year. See main picture (top left) for an image of Châteauroux.
The map below shows the median house prices in metropolitan France in the third quarter of 2021, with the percentage changes a comparison to the third quarter of 2020.
Hover over the dots for more information.
Where are flat prices increasing / decreasing the most
Paris has by far and away the most expensive flat prices per square metre, at €10,790. This remained unchanged between the third quarter of 2020 and 2021.
Bayonne saw prices of non-new build flats increase the most over the same period, jumping by 21.7% to reach €3,980 per square metre. See main picture (top right) for an image of Bayonne.
Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin) was the only place where prices fell, and quite drastically, by 15.2%, reaching a price of €1,110 per square metre.
The map below shows the median price per square metre of non-new build flats in metropolitan France in the third quarter of 2021, with the percentage changes a comparison to the third quarter of 2020.
Hover over the dots for more information.
Number of sales of non-new builds ‘stable’ after big increase
The number of sales of non-new build houses in France stabilised in 2021, but is still markedly up from the previous year.
By the end of November 2021, the number of sales over the previous 12 months reached 1,201,000.
This is an increase of 17.5% compared to the same period 12 months prior.
However, it is slightly fewer than during the period of August 2020 to August 2021, in which 1,211,000 houses were sold.
This shows that although there were far more buyers in 2021, the increase has stabilised.
The notaires’ report said that figures will most likely end up stabilising around the 1.1 million mark, which is similar to pre-pandemic numbers from the end of 2019, a sign that the “appetite for property” has returned.
House sales were massively affected by the pandemic. Between July 2019 and July 2020, there were only 982,000 purchases, a big fall in the context of recent trends.
Projections show house prices to continue to increase
Projections based on pre-sale agreements (avant contrats) show that the prices of non-new builds in France should continue to increase.
“From February 2021 to February 2022, prices are expected to increase by 5% for non-new build flats and 10.1% for non-new build houses,” the report reads.
The pre-sales “highlight an increase in prices in medium-sized cities and agglomerations such as Angers, Limoges, Dijon and Saint-Nazaire, to the detriment of large cities such as Bordeaux, which have probably reached a peak and will see prices stabilise or even fall slightly”.
Lack of new builds increases price of non-new builds
The slow construction of new builds is “directly contributing to the rise in prices for non-new build properties”, the notaires’ report states.
This is amplified by the fact that there are generally fewer non-new build properties available.