Property in France: A weekly roundup of the latest news and talking points

Property in France: A weekly roundup of the latest news and talking points
Photo: Stephane du Sakatin/AFP
From how to find a builder to the property trend of treehouses, stay up to date with The Local's guide to the latest news around French property.

Real estate boom

There are now more real estate agents than boulangeries in France, according to the national statistics agency INSEE.

The number of agences d’immobilier has risen by 50 percent across the country over the past five years.

On average there are now 161 real estate agencies per 100,000 of the population (compared to 73 boulangeries per 100,000 people) with the highest concentrations in the Nice département of Alpes-Maritime (525 per 100 000), Paris (442) and the south west département of Pyrénées-Orientales (347).

Meanwhile if you want to set yourself up in business, the places with the least competition are the départements of Cantal (33 real estate agencies per 100,000 people), Mayenne (51) or Manche (50).

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Estate agents

It is not compulsory to use a real estate agent when purchasing in France (unlike a notaire) but they will often have access to the best properties, some of which do not get advertised.

If you do decide to use one, read this piece from British woman Jenny Lovett who (eventually) successfully bought a home in north west France – Five top tips for dealing with estate agents in rural France

Aerial view of the French Riviera with Nice (left) Villefranche sur Mer (centre) and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat (right). (Photo by VALERY HACHE / AFP)

Property trends

Paris has this week lost its crown as the home of the priciest real estate in France.

The new holder of the title is the town of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera, with an average price of €14,000 per square metre.

Undeniably a ritzy area long favoured by film stars and singers, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is unlikely to hold on to the title, however, as locals explain that the recent sale of a villa for €30 million has skewed the price-per-square metre ratio in the 248 hectare peninsula.


If you’re keen to start some work on your French property after more than a year of shutdowns and travel restrictions, then you’re not the only one.

French builders’ federations are warning of long waiting lists for good builders as demand has rocketed for home improvements.

You may be facing higher prices too, since a worldwide shortage has pushed up the price of building materials.

Spot the scammers

However keen you are to start work, however, don’t be tempted to skip on the pre-contract checks.

It’s a sad fact that every year newcomers to France are conned by ‘expat builders’ who may speak their language but don’t possess the necessary skills or qualifications.

Here’s how to avoid the scammers.

Dream Homes

For many, buying a chateau in France is the dream. But one French chateau owner has bucked that trend by selling the 2,000 square metre property near Bordeaux that his family had owned since the 18th century and moving into a 30 square metre tree house.

The reason – and potential chateau-buyers take note – was that he could no longer afford the upkeep of his historic mansion, so instead spent €60,000 to build the eco-friendly tree house out of wood.

He told Le Figaro that he is much more content with his new property – he sold the chateau but kept the surrounding 10 acres of vineyards – and intends to build more tree houses that he will let to tourists. 

Property tip of the week

Many people when property hunting tend to look at either cities or rural France, but don’t be too quick to discount France’s many small towns.

Writer and small-town resident James Harrington argues that they create the best of both worlds – enough amenities and attractions to keep you and your family busy, plus the peace and space of the countryside and access to a garden where you can grown your own.

(His neighbours also regularly gift him the fruits of their hunting trips, but readers should note that this isn’t a guaranteed part of the small town experience).

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