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Brexit helps push Paris property prices towards record levels

Britons scrambling to get their hands on properties in Paris looks set to play a big part in driving real estate prices up to record levels, a new survey has shown.

Brexit helps push Paris property prices towards record levels
Photo: AFP

Prices for real estate in Paris are set to reach new records this summer, as buyers — many of them Britons — scramble to get their hands on flats in the French capital's most well-heeled districts, a survey of notaries showed on Tuesday.

“The number of buyers is rising unstoppably,” said Paris notary Thierry Delesalle.

Demand was outstripping supply, particularly for the most select properties, “and perhaps because of Brexit,” Delesalle said.

While Italians were the biggest group of foreign homebuyers in Paris, snapping up 17 percent of properties sold to non-French buyers, Britons came second, accounting for 10 percent of such transactions.

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(AFP)

Already in the first three months of this year, prices for existing apartments in Paris rose by 5.5 percent to 8,450 euros ($9,410) per square metre, a survey by the Chamber of Notaries of Paris and Ile-de-France region estimated.

And they could rise even further to 8,800 euros per square metre in July, the survey suggested, based on preliminary contracts prepared for signing.

The previous record of 8,460 euros per square metre was reached in the summer of 2012.

Real estate prices in Paris had seen “a slow erosion in the past three or four years,” slipping to 7,880 euros per square metre.

But apartment prices in the capital have been rising again since the summer of 2015.

In the city's most well-heeled districts or “arrondissements”, prices have risen to more than 11,000 euros per square metre, the notaries estimated.

In May last year The Local reported how a tiny three metre squared loft room in the prestigious Île Saint-Louis in the centre of the capital was advertised on sale for €50,000.

That worked out at an unbelievable €16,600 per square metre. 

However, this was by no means the only example of a ridiculously small space selling for a ridiculous amount of money. 
 
Other “micro-rooms” on the market for extremely high prices are advertised on similar sites. 
 
A tiny flat of five square metres in the 11th arrondissement is going for €35,000 on Explorimmo, whilst a very exact 4.21 square metres room situated on the fifth floor of a lift-less building in the 18th arrondissement costs €37,000. 
 
Another room measuring seven square metres with a skylight in the chic 17th arrondissement is selling for €49,000 and somehow manages to include both a toilet and kitchenette. 

Where property prices have risen most in France

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MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

While French cities such as Paris are notoriously expensive, there are many areas outside the cities where it is still possible to buy spacious homes for less than €100,000 - particularly if you don't mind a bit of renovation.

MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

We decided to look at where in France you could afford a property on a budget of €100,000, and it turns out there are some bargains to be had.

There are a lot of caveats while searching for property, and many local variables in place, but our search does show some of the areas to concentrate on if you have a limited budget.

We used the Notaires de France immobilier website in August 2022, and we specified that the property should have at least five rooms (including kitchen and bathroom) and a floor space of at least 100 square metres.

We also discounted any property that was for sale under the viager system – a complicated purchase method which allows the resident to release equity on their property gradually, as the buyer puts down a lump sum in advance and then pays what is effectively a rent for the rest of the seller’s lifetime, while allowing them to remain in the property.

READ ALSO Viager: The French property system that can lead to a bargain

For a five-room, 100 square metre property at under €100,000, you won’t find anywhere in the Île-de-France region, where the proximity of Paris pushes up property prices. The city itself is famously expensive, but much of the greater Paris region is within commuting distance, which means pricier property. 

Equally the island of Corsica – where prices are pushed up by its popularity as a tourist destination – showed no properties for sale while the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur – which includes the French Riviera – showed only 1 property under €100,000.

The very presence of Bordeaux, meanwhile, takes the entire département of Gironde out of this equation – but that doesn’t mean that the southwest is completely out of the running. A total of 25 properties came up in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. One property was on the market for a mere €20,000 – but it was, as the Notaires’ brochure noted, in need of “complete renovation”.

Neighbouring Occitanie, meanwhile, showed 12 further properties in the bracket.

By far the most properties on the day of our search – 67 – were to be found in the Grand Est region of eastern France. The eastern part of France overall comes out best for property bargains, with the north-east region of Hauts-de-France showing 38 properties and and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté displaying 25.

Further south, however, the presence of the Alps – another popular tourist destination – pushed up prices in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region which showed just three results.

The below map shows our search results, with darker colours indicating more cheap properties.

Property buying tips 

In order to make a comparison, we focused our search on properties advertised online, but if you have a specific area in mind it's well worth making friends with a few local real estate agents and perhaps also the mayor, since it's common for properties not to be advertised online.

Most of the truly 'bargain' properties are described as being "in need of renovation" - which is real estate speak for a complete wreck.

If you don't mind doing a bit of work you can often pick up property for low prices, but you need to do a clear-eyed assessment of exactly how much work you are willing and able to do, and what the cost is likely to be - there's no point getting a "cheap" house and then spending three times the purchase price on renovations.

READ ALSO 'Double your budget and make friends with the mayor' - tips for French property renovation

That said, there were plenty of properties at or near the €100,000 mark that were perfectly liveable or needed only relatively minor renovations.

You also need to pay attention to the location, as the sub-€100,000 properties are often in remote areas or very small villages with limited access to amenities. While this lifestyle suits many people, bear in mind that owning a car is a requirement and you may end up paying extra for certain services.

Finally remember that government help, in the form of loans and grants, is available for environmentally friendly improvements, such as insulation or glazing.

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