The average cost of renting an apartment in France dropped 1.1 percent in 2015 and has shrunk by a further 0.8 percent since January this year, according to a study by Clameur, a market analysis company specializing in the French housing market and working with the country's nine main property businesses.
The drop in rents has been noticed in 54.1 percent of towns with over 10,000 residents and in 70 percent of France's cities and large towns (defined as those with over 148,000 residents), Clameur's annual study, published on Wednesday, revealed.
The cities with the most dramatic drop were Reims in the north-east, where rent sunk by 3.8 percent and Paris, where the famously high rents have seen a 3.3 percent drop after decreasing by 1.3 percent over the course of 2015.
Numerous other cities have seen relatively steep drops in rent this year: Nantes (-2 percent), Nice (-1.4 percent) and Saint-Étienne (-1,1 percent). The cities where rent got more expensive were Strasbourg (1.3 percent), Grenoble (0.6 percent) and Lyon (0.5 percent).
Surprisingly, it is the larger apartments which have declined by the largest amount, having increased steadily since the early 2000s.
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In the first two months of the year, four-room apartments have got 1.6 percent cheaper on average, compared to three-room apartments which saw rent decline by 0.9 percent, two-rooms by 0.5 percent and studios by 1 percent.
The study noted that it is common for rents to decline in the winter months as there is less demand for relocation, however the continuation of the decline in early 2016 is a positive sign for renters and marks a break with previous years, which have seen average rents creep back up at the start of the year.