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How a new pricing website could 'warm up' the sluggish French property market

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How a new pricing website could 'warm up' the sluggish French property market
Seller may be encouraged to price more realistically. Photo: AFP
12:59 CEST+02:00
In a bid towards transparency, the French government has announced that the prices of all houses will be available for anyone to see online. So how will this affect the French property market?

As The Local reported last week, the Ministry of Economy and Finance in France has opened up the website which shows all parcels of land bought and sold in France.

Previously the site - similar to the UK's Land Registry - was only available to notaires.

For a property that has changed hands since January 1, 2014, readers can also view the price it sold for.

The website does not give any detail on the condition of the building sold, but will give house buyers an idea of the sort of prices they can expect to pay in their neighbourhood.

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Photo: AFP

So what effect will this have on the French property market, traditionally a sluggish beast compared to the UK and US markets? We asked two real estate agents living and working in France to give us their expert opinions.

Julie Savill of Beaux Villages Immobilier said: "It feels like a positive step that the government have released this data.

"It can only aid transparency; a prospective vendor hoping to buy cheaply and resell with a big margin will probably not appreciate it. In truth we suspect this will only affect a few people on either side of the equation.
 
"We have issued the relevant websites to our property consultants with a ''health warning'': a vendor who has invested wisely may expect to achieve a return on that investment. It is clearly not enough to simply allow for the passage of time since the last sale of any given property. When valuing a property we make due allowance for these factors.
 
"Well priced and well presented property is selling quickly. Don't believe all of the gloomy stories featured elsewhere."
 
Ailsa Spindler is a real estate agent working in France with extensive experience of the French property market.

She said: "Anyone with a basic understanding of market theory knows that transparency should lead to better market functioning, so in theory the French Government's decision to make property sale prices accessible to the public should be a good thing.

"However, predicting the outcome of such an initiative is difficult because of other factors which influence the market.

"In property 'hotspots', there will be plenty of information available but the heated nature of the market will mean that buyers and sellers alike will consider the information out-of-date - a lot changes in five years.

"In quieter, rural markets, there may not be enough sales over the previous five years to give any meaningful data at a local level.

"So, what is the likely effect of this initiative? I think it will not make much difference, but one positive outcome may be that sellers are more realistic in their expectations.

"We have all heard of properties that have taken years to sell, and more often than not this is because the initial asking price is too high - often in the face of advice from agents who know the market.

"These properties only sell when the seller agrees to lower the price to a more realistic level, so any evidence of actual selling prices achieved can only help agents to get property onto the market at realistic prices.

"That would benefit everyone, and perhaps 'warm up' the market in stagnant areas."

To look up properties in your local area, click here and search the interactive map by département, then commune.

Ailsa Spindler is based in the Normandie-Maine national park and works for Leggett Immobilier. Find out more here.

Beaux Villages Immobilier specialises in property in the southern half of France. Find out more here.

French vocab

 

Real estate agent - agent immobilier

Mortgage - crédit immobilier

Local property residence tax - taxe d'habitation

Putting in an offer - offre d'achat

Pre-sale agreement - compromis de vente

 
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