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Housebuilding Figures Mask Fall in Sales

Thursday 05 April 2012

Despite a buoyant level of house building in France last year there was a fall in new homes sales of 10.5%.

Over 400,000 new homes were constructed in France in 2011, an increase of 20% on 2010.

The following table shows a regional breakdown of new housebuilding, as well as planning consents granted for new homes. The table compares the year ending December 2011 with that for the same period in 2010.

The number of new starts for apartments grew in the year by 34% compared with 2010, while individual homes activity grew by 11.8%.

Not surprisingly the highest levels of activity occured in the Ile-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Côte D’Azur and Rhône-Alpes, regions that are the economic motors of the country.

Despite the substantial growth it is interesting to note that activity in some regions actually declined, notably in Champagne-Ardenne, where both housing starts and planning consents went down in comparison with 2010.


New Homes Activity 2011

Housing Starts Planning Consents
Region Jan/Dec Variation (%) Jan/Dec Variation (%)
Alsace 12,964 9.2 15,670 23.8
Aquitaine 29,653 27.0 38,679 28.8
Auvergne 6,742 7.3 7,711 - 4.1
Basse-Normandie 8,633 20.9 11,003 18.3
Bourgogne 7,339 25.1 9,740 30.8
Bretagne 25,122 5.9 29,438 10.0
Centre 14,459 17.1 18,164 15.0
Champagne-Ardenne 6,513 - 1.0 7,112 - 2.3
Corse 4,751 28.4 6,132 - 6.7
Franche-Comté 5,344 - 13.1 7,154 8.3
Haute-Normandie 9,780 13.5 15,944 23.2
Ile-de-France 43,979 4.6 61,328 20.5
Languedoc-Roussillon 25,981 19.2 28,113 0.9
Limousin 3,383 7.4 3,710 - 11.1
Lorraine 9,478 9.0 15,738 39.7
Midi-Pyrénées 27,583 44.2 34,307 37.2
Nord-Pas-De-Calais 18,001 18.7 23,474 8.8
Pays de la Loire 32,865 10.7 33,809 - 2.3
Picardie 9,172 45.1 11,115 16.6
Poitou-Charentes 11,021 3.5 15,437 14.8
Provence-Alpes-Côte D’Azur 36,038 79.9 48,994 43.3
Rhône-Alpes 51,417 26.4 64,904 14.5
Total France 400,182 20.2 432,717 17.3

Source: SOes, Sit@del2

House Sales

Although the construction industry was busy in 2011, new house sales actually fell in the year by 10.5%, from 115,412 to 103,296. House sales fared worse than apartments, but both suffered (-9,1% for apartments and -21.5% for houses).

According to Benoist Apparu, Minister of Housing, ''the diminuation may be explained notably by the difficulties concerning access to mortgage finance, and by a targeting of fiscal support towards those areas where there is the greatest need for new homes.''

Neither does it seem there is any real confidence that sales will improve in 2012. The leading housebuilder Nexity estimates that the sector will ''touch a low point'' with probably only 70,000 to 80,000 sales in the year. This is a view that is also shared by Marc Pigeon, president of the Fédération des promoteurs immobiliers (FPI).

There is already some evidence of a parallel fall in new housing starts for January 2012, which fell 32% over December 2011. "It is an historic fall for the month of January'', according the housing economist Michel Mouillart from the Université Paris Ouest. ''We have never seen that since records begain in the early 1980s'', he stated.

The reasons for the fall are not difficult to spot, for alongside fragile economic conditions there has been a reduction on the tax breaks for investing in housing, which has traditionally underpinned a great deal of the new build residential market.

Related Reading:

This article was featured in our Newsletter dated 05/04/2012





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