7 key points on property market in France from new notaire data

Several areas are now predicted to see significant falls

Property prices in Paris continued to fall throughout the year
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French notaires have highlighted a number of key trends on prices, sales, and market accessibility in their latest information on the state of the property market.

The full data covers the period up to the end of the third quarter of 2023, alongside some preliminary data from the beginning of 2024 which the notaires use to predict property trends in the coming months.

It is the most complete data set for the French property market as notaires handle all property. This article focuses on non new-build properties (homes that are five years or older) and we highlight seven key trends picked up by the notaires.

Big drop in property sales

The most important point highlighted is the significant drop in home sales, which began in 2022 but entered freefall in 2023.

Between November 2022 and November 2023, only 885,000 properties were sold. This corresponds to a 21.1% drop compared to the previous 12 months (November 2021 - November 2022), and is hundreds of thousands of properties away from the recent annual peak (just over 1.2 million properties, sold between August 2020-2021).

This is the sharpest decline in sales in over 10 years, and the lowest number of annual property sales since April 2017.

Preliminary data for the entirety of 2023 so including December sees this fall to 860,000 properties – 225,000 less than in 2022.

“The decline in volumes should continue, perhaps at a slower pace in the months ahead,” say the notaires “with prices slow to fall and interest rates at a high level.”

However, interest rates and inflation may soon stabilise, making would-be purchasers more confident in the market, provided owners can be convinced to sell at reduced rates, which they may be forced to do, as prices are also dropping.

No sector escapes price drops

In general, prices across France fell in the third quarter of 2023.

The notaires’ data (July - September 2023) looks at price changes compared with the previous three months as well as the previous year (July-September 2022 - July-September 2023), for non new-build flats and houses.

It looks separately at sales in both the Île-de-France region and the rest of the country (province), as well as the overall changes in these areas combined.

Prices have been falling for well over a year in the capital, but the slow growth has now turned into a definite drop throughout the rest of the country as well.

Recent data reports have seen the year-on-year price of homes still increasing outside of the capital region (kept afloat by growth during the end of the Covid era), but now all of these areas have seen price drops.

Price drops for flats were slightly higher than for houses and larger in the capital region, however.

Credit: Notaires de France / The Connexion

Some cities predicted to see large falls

In terms of cities in France, some have seen prices fall much more steeply than elsewhere and only a handful saw increases in 2023.

Read more: MAP: See house price changes near you in France in new notaire data

Predictions for 2024, however, see starker changes.

“Prices of existing flats are expected to continue to rise year-on-year at the same rate [as in 2023] in Le Havre (+3%) and in Aix-en-Provence (+2%),” said the notaries “while prices will fall by around 6% in Angers and Saint-Etienne.”

In some other cities – Caen, Grenoble, and Nantes – the fall will be closer to 10% throughout the course of the year.

House prices in Marseille/Aix-en-Provence, Mulhouse, and most noticeably Toulouse, are expected to see a year-on-year fall of between 4% and 7% by February 2024.

Other cities, including Angers, Lille, Le Havre, Amiens, Nantes, Lyon, and Saint-Etienne, are predicted to see house prices fall by up to 10% in 2024, before the market begins to stabilise.

Read more: 3, 4, 5%?: what drop in French property prices is expected this year?

Paris price per m² continues to drop

Property prices in Paris itself (the 20 arrondissements of the city) fell below the symbolic €10,000 per m² towards the end of 2023, and have continued to drop this year.

In 2024 the average price was around €9,630 per m², a year-on-year drop of 7%.

Flat prices have fallen slightly more in the petite couronne (the three departments immediately surrounding Paris) by 8.7%, slightly more than those in the grande couronne (the rest of the Île-de-France), where the drop was 6.4%.

This was mirrored in house prices, with the fall in the petite couronne steeper (7.5%) than the rest of the region (6.7%).

However, despite this the price of property in Paris itself is still more than double that of anywhere else in the country.

Note that the information in the link below only covers information up to the end of the third quarter of 2023, so prices in Paris had not yet dropped below the €10,000 per m² mark.

Read more: SEE: flat prices start to fall in France in new notaire data

Who is the most active in the market across France?

More than half (52%) of all property sales in the timeframe measured were conducted by middle management or upper management (profession intermédiare et cadre supérieur).

The rest were mostly made by retirees (14%), other general white-collar workers (14%), and blue collar workers (10%), with artisans and agricultural workers accounting for the remainder.

General white- and blue-collar workers have seen their share in property purchases fall by 3% and 2% respectively since 2019.

New-build market is still struggling

Notaires say that the new-build market is still suffering from ‘endemic difficulties’.

The number of new units being built in 2023 was almost a quarter lower than in 2022, and 20% lower than in the 12 months directly before the first Covid lockdown.

The number of reservations for newly-built and under-construction properties fell by 40% year-on-year in September 2023.

However, the number of new-build units placed on the market increased by 16.7% compared to the previous year, showing signs that if buyers become more confident in purchasing, there is still a chance these figures may turn around.

Number of mortgages continue to drop

Interest rates for mortgages reached 3.99% by the end of November 2023, and were expected to hit 4% before the end of the year.

However, a reduction of these rates is now expected with more buyers likely to attempt to purchase property if inflation across France goes down.

The amount of outstanding mortgage loans in France fell to €8.7 billion in November 2023, down from €9.2 billion the month before.

This signifies more people are paying off their mortgages than are being replaced by newly-signed mortgages – a point that may also spur banks into offering more attractive rates.

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