House Prices in France 2014
Tuesday 05 May 2015
The notaires have recently published their review of the French property market in 2014 for each department of France.
We have previously heard from the main estate agent chains and FNAIM, the association of French estate agents, who published their own analysis of 2014 several months ago.
Whilst they differ in the script, for all of them it is much the same trajectory, with a fall in prices over the year.
The notaires state that house prices outside of Paris fell by an average of 2.4% in the year, somewhat higher than that of FNAIM, whose own average figure was a fall of 1.5%. The main chains (Hocquet, Century 21 and Laforet) all reported falls of above 2%.
The fall in prices appears to have been more widespread and deeper than in 2013, with the notaires stating that there was "an accentuation in the fall in prices in three quarters of the departments" in Q4 of last year, against half in Q3.
Average prices have now have now fallen for three years in succession, as a result of which "in the majority of departments, prices in 2014 are lower than they were in 2006," say the notaires.
Total sales in the year were around 700,000, 3% down on 2013.
As usual, the devil is in the detail, for there are significant variations across the country, as can be seen from the table below, which shows the movement in prices for each department of France, for both 2013 and 2014. The prices exclude any estate agent's commission.
The figures are indicative only, as there are substantial variations within each department by size, location and condition of property.
Readers familiar with our Newsletter will be aware of the very large caveat we always state about these figures, the most important of which is that as the analysis is drawn from transactions in the main urban areas of each department they do not reflect what is happening to properties in the countryside, the market of primary interest to international buyers and sellers. Most of the transactions are also for properties at the lower end of the market.
However, as sales of country homes have been a slow in recent years, particularly in the middle to upper brackets, prices for such properties are likely to have fallen more than is indicated here.
Indeed, in their report, the notaires speak of no less than a 'collapse' in the price and sales of second homes in rural and coastal areas, although nowhere is such a cataclysm evident from the average price movements they have reported.
According to the notaires, the most substantial falls in recent years have been in rural properties in the Creuse, where properties have fallen by around 50% since 2008. There is a similar story in the Dordogne, the Gers and parts of Burgundy. In Normandy and parts of the Centre and the Pay de la Loire prices are down by up to 25% since 2008, and even in the traditionally very popular Luberon area of Provence, by around 10% over the same period.
These dramatic figures need to be treated with some caution, as they will not apply to all types of properties, but it is certainly true to say that there was only modest demand for rural second homes amongst both international buyers and French nationals and that many sellers have had to make some significant concessions.
The notaires state that the largest falls in the year were widely dispersed, occurring in Indre (-9.9%), Var (-8.3%), Loir-et-Cher (-7.7%), Moselle (-6.8%) and Pyrénées-Orientales (-6.0%).
At a regional level, most interestingly, the largest falls occurred in the two Mediterranean regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (-4.5%) and Languedoc-Roussillon (-4.2%). Average prices in these regions have fallen successively over the past three years and some of the explanation must be the fall in the second homes market to which the notaires refer.
In reality, there are both cheap and expensive properties in all departments of France, and just what you can get will as always depend on condition, size and location.
It is also worth noting that in recent months both agents and notaires have indicated that there are signs of an improvement in the market in 2015. More about this trend in a future Newsletter.
| House Prices 2014|
|Region/Department||Average Price 2014||*Average Change 2013||Average Change 2014|
Source: Notaires de France
*Some of you may spot that the figure for your department 2013 is different to the one you may have seen in our Newsletter last year. That is because there has been a 'rectification' by the notaires. When we queried the changes we were advised that the figures were definitive six months after publication, although there is no indication of their initially provisional basis on their site. Accordingly, the figures for 2014 remain provisional!