French homes are ‘most over-valued in world’

French homes are 'most over-valued in world'
A real estate agency in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. Photo: Dan Mac Guill/The Local
Anyone who thought they got a good deal on their dream cottage in Brittany or plush apartment in Paris, might want to think again. According to calculations made in a survey by The Economist magazine, buyers in France might have paid as much as 50 percent over the odds.

According to a "fair value" formula calculated by the right-leaning British magazine, French property prices are the most over-valued in the world when measured against disposal income.

According to the report, the price of residential property in France is 35 percent higher than its fair value when incomes are taken into account.

The survey also found that French homes are the most over-valued in Europe when compared to rental prices. France's property prices are considered 50 percent too high in relation to rental prices, but that is not as extreme as in Canada, where the cost-to-buy surpasses its fair value by 78 percent in comparison to rent.

The Economist is not expecting anything to change in the near future, stating any drop in French property prices will only be a modest one.

In Spain properties were calculated to be around 20 percent overvalued on both counts, but in contrast, Japanese home-buyers are undercharged by 37 percent when compared to average incomes.

Housing costs in the United States are undervalued by 20 percent against average income levels and 7 percent against rent prices, while Britons hoping to purchase a house are paying 12 percent over the odds compared to their salaries.

Many French could be forgiven for ignoring the latest Economist report, believing the British journal has it in for their country. Last year the journal dubbed France "The time-bomb at the heart of Europe," and claimed the French economy was more of a threat to the future of the Euro than Italy, Spain or Portugal.

That label was not greeted warmly by France's Socialist government, which has struggled to maintain confidence in the economy.

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