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Prices of property in Paris go through the roof (unlike the rest of France)

New figures show the price of property in the French capital have risen sharply over the last 12 months, which is changing the profile of homeowners in the French capital.

Prices of property in Paris go through the roof (unlike the rest of France)
Photo: AFP

The figures obtained by Le Monde newspaper from the Century 21 real estate agents – one of the biggest in the capital, reveal some frightening details for those who are hoping to buy a flat in Paris.

For a start, the average price of a square metre is now €8,942, a rise of 7.7 percent since last year. Meanwhile the average price of a square metre across the rest of the country has risen just 1.5 percent.

And in another contrast between Paris and the rest of France, apartment prices in the capital have shot up by 45 percent since 2009, compared to 9.5 percent in the rest of the country.

In less than 10 years the average price of property has gone up by 33 percent and since the year 2000 the value of apartments in Paris have tripled.

“It’s shocking,” Laurent Vimont from the Century 21 property agency told Le Monde.

He believes the symbolic price of €9,000 per square metre will be exceeded. The average price per metre square around the country is €2,532, far below the prices in Paris.

“Paris is on the way to a new record,” he said.

Vimont said the rise had naturally had a major impact on the kind of people able to purchase property in Paris.

“Paris, with an average purchase price for an apartment of €446,982, has become an exclusive city, reserved for high earners (management and liberal professions), who now account for 46 percent of purchasers.

“At the same time, the percentage of workers and employees buying apartments has halved, from 13.9 percent to 6.8 percent.”

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According to analysis, there are a few reasons to blame for the steep rise in prices over the past year.

The election of Donald Trump, Britain’s decision to leave the EU and Emmanuel Macron’s election in France have apparently all played a role in boosting property prices in the French capital, according to Le Point.

Brits and Americans are apparently deciding now is the time to buy in the French capital and with the election of the pro-business Macron, who has vowed to kick-start France’s economy, the stars appear to have aligned.

A recent survey of notaries in the capital concluded that Brexit was helping push Paris property prices to record levels.

“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.

Nevertheless, foreign buyers only represent five percent of the 40, 000 annual property transactions that take place in Paris.

Marie-Hélène Lundgreen, director of the luxury real estate agent Belles Demeures told Le Point: “Americans are looking at Paris once again. They are still cautious because of the attacks, but they think Emmanuel Macron is going to save the world.”

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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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