Crisis averted-Property prices on road to recovery

The F�d�ration Nationale de l’Immobilier (FNAIM) unveiled its report on property prices in France for the first half of 2009 in July, revealing that prices are standing up well despite the recession and are on course to meet predictions of a 5-10% drop over the year.

It seems that the drop in prices experienced towards the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 is abating, with prices jumping 3.9% in the second trimester of 2009, helping to level out the drop in property prices for the year to date to 7.3%.

This percentage decrease varies widely throughout l’Hexagone, with prices in the south-east diving12.3%, compared to a 9.2% drop in the north-east and a 3.8% dip in Ile de France. Some towns have managed to buck the downward trend altogether, with prices in Bordeaux, N�mes, Antony and Les Sables d’Olonne all gaining ground. 

On the back of these figures, FNAIM dismissed the worst-case scenario beloved of doomsayers, saying that a brutal crash was unlikely, instead figures indicated a soft landing’. 

Century 21, one of France’s largest network of estate agencies, confirmed FNAIM’s findings, reporting that prices dropped just 2.12% over the 20,500 transactions completed by the network in the last six months, compared to the same period in 2008. The network revealed that transactions were up 23% in the last six months, after deals plummeted 28% in the second half of 2008. “Low interest rates have helped breathe life into the market,” explained Laurent Vimont, president of the network.

A recent survey conducted by the Observatoire Cetelem de l’Immobilier revealed that, despite la crise, interest remains strong. Some 46% of the 1,200 respondents claimed that they were planning to buy property, with 34% divulging that becoming a homeowner was a priority’. “In relation to the number of French people who currently own property (53%), these figures appear to show a significant potential for development of the French property market,” said manager Flavien Neuvy.

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