French property market grinds to standstill awaiting election

Estate agents report ‘fewer emails, fewer requests, and fewer projects’ in a market that was already suffering

A sign on a balcony saying ‘A vendre (For sale)’ in France
‘It’s a complete wait-and-see attitude at the moment,” says an estate agent in Paris
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French estate agents are reporting an even greater slowdown in the property market following the dissolution of parliament ahead of the snap legislative elections.

President Macron dissolved parliament unexpectedly on June 9 and announced legislative elections following the landslide victory of far-right party Rassemblement National (RN) among French voters in the European elections.

Read also: Macron orders dissolution of French parliament: reaction and what now?

Read also: Macron: why I called snap French election and I won't resign if we lose 

The political uncertainty has now had a potential knock-on effect on the property market, which was already suffering, estate agents have said.

“We are getting fewer emails, fewer requests, fewer projects: for the moment, it's a complete wait-and-see attitude," said Jérome Flioum, head of the Roche estate agency in Paris Vaugirard, to Capital, in what he sees as a problem affecting the wider industry and market.

He said that property adverts have been receiving much less interest than normal, with far fewer inquiries, since the election announcement.

“For example, here we have [a property with] two 44 square metre rooms: there have only been 120 people looking for more information. We should have double that, at least 250 people interested in finding out more. And we've only had five definite inquiries,” he said. 

He has only sold one property in the past 10 days - almost exactly since the election announcement - and that was because the buyer was in an ‘emergency’ situation and needed to obtain a property quickly. 

“Are other buyers scared of the situation and not made enquiries?” asked Mr Flioum.

He has blamed the political uncertainty for the major slowdown.

Property market already in slump

It comes after the property market has already been suffering for several months, due to high interest rates and the rising difficulty of people being able to get credit. 

Read also: Four factors that can lower the value of French property 

Read also: How much can property buyers in France negotiate down prices in 2024? 

More than 1,100 estate agencies have been forced to close their doors in the past year as a result, said The Fédération nationale de l’immobilier (Fnaim).

Read also: Unprecedented closure of estate agencies in France amid property slowdown 

Read also: Where have property prices fallen the most in France? 

The added political uncertainty has made people even less confident in taking on significant moves or projects, said Mr Flioum.

“Politicians need to restore the French people's confidence in buying their main home,” he said.

At the same time, however, a number of parties have put reforging the property market as central to their manifestos for the election.

The RN have a flagship policy to reverse bans on renting out energy-inefficient homes – those rated F and G on the Diagnostic de performance énergétique (DPE) scale. 

They also want to remove the requirement for all properties to have an audit if being put on the market either to be rented or sold. 

Gabriel Attal, current prime minister, said his party would end notaire fees (which are mainly taxes) for a first property purchase if they win the election. 

Read more: French PM pledges to end fees for some home buyers: who could benefit?