Robust reports suggest upward trend

Latest figures show rise in French property for the first time in eight quarters

Recent figures from the Federation National de L’Immobilier (FNAIM) suggest that house prices in France are on the up again, having recorded an increase for the first time in eight quarters.

This follows a period of stabilisation over the course of 2010 after the drops in price that occurred earlier. And according to the latest Note de Conjoncture from FNAIM, in general sales have returned to levels reported between 2000 and 2007, rising from 590,000 in 2009 to nearly 800,000 in 2010. Indeed, the Banque de France says that the issuing of French housing loans doubled in the year to November 2010 to €145 billion.

Anne Mizrachi, of estate agent Latitudes, says: “Paris, Marseille and other large urban centres have seen a sharp rise in property prices over recent months. But it seems that the trend across rural France is that the market has now stabilised and in some cases shows some signs of growth.

“We have seen a rise in the number of enquiries we are receiving. Our British clients are going to France to view properties; they have not lost their confidence in the French market nor given up their dream to own a property in France.

“France has always been a stable market where prices increase gradually; it has always been considered a safe place to invest with the purchaser legally well protected.”

Anne’s assertion that the market is thriving in major cities across France is borne out by the Notaires de France. The rise in Paris over the course of 2010 has been well documented, with the average price per square metre rising to €7,500/m2 by the end of the year – FNAIM is predicting this will top €8,000/m2 in the third quarter of 2011. However, other cities have enjoyed big increases of between 10-15% over the year. Some of the star performers are Toulouse (where property prices now stand at an average of €2,350/m2), Bordeaux (€2,700/m2) and Nantes (€2,450m2).

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Further signs of a rallying market in France comes from Smart Currency Exchange. The foreign currency specialist says that recent transaction figures show that 2011 is set to see an increased interest in Britons looking to buy in France, especially for investment. Director Charles Purdy says that, while there was a big rise in the value and volume of transactions from France back to the UK, “last year we also saw a 10% increase in funds moving to France, suggesting the clever money is starting to sense opportunities in a more stable market”.