House prices in the Charente department of France have generally bucked the trend of the rest of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region.
In a recent study of the housing market in Charente, the notaires state that sales last year to September 2018 increased by 5.8%, compared 0.8% for the rest of the country, a figure also substantially higher figure than the region, where the average increase was 1.8%.
Inevitably, the level of sales in Charente impacted on prices, with houses increasing in price by an average of 1.6%, taking the median selling price of houses in the department to €113,000. The figure is based on a habitable surface area of 105m2.
Over the past five years, house prices in the Charente have risen by 2.7%, against a fall of -0.9% for the rest of the region.
Apartment prices in the year also increased by an average of 7.7%, and by 3.6% over the past 5 years.
The study by the notaires focused on three urban centres – the departmental capital Angouleme, the town of Cognac to the west, and in Confolens in the north.
In the year, average house prices rose by 7.2%, to reach €117,500.
By district, prices in the town centre average around €185,000, with cheapest prices of around €100,000 to the north.The notaires state that over the past ten years there have been three distinct phases in the movement of house prices in the town:
- 2008-2011 – annual prices increases between 2% and 3%
- 2012-2014 – prices fell annually by -10.4%, -5.4% and -2%
- 2015-2018 – prices rose each year between 1.9% and 7.2%
As a result, the current average price of €117,500 is equivalent to the price level in 2011.
However, whilst house prices in the town may have risen each year since 2015, in the commuter areas around the town prices have remained relatively stable, except in 2017 when they rose by +4.5%.
Prices in nearby villages and towns vary significantly. Of those in the study, at the bottom end was Rouillac, to the north-west, where prices average €77,000. Areas to the south average around €110,000, whilst those to the north around €160,000.
By contrast, house prices in Cognac fell by -5.0%, to reach an average of €114,000.
It was a similar picture in surrounding areas, where prices fell on average by -0.8% to €118,000, but with larger falls in Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire, where prices fell by 11% to reach €97,600, and in Crouin/Saint-Jacques where prices fell by -16.9% to €116,500.
The only area to beat the trend was Jarnac, which sits between the Cognac and Angouleme, where prices increased by 12.4% to reach an average of €118,000.
The cheapest area in the department is around Confolens, near the border with the department of Vienne, with prices averaging €70,000, but where smaller properties sell for an average of €42,000, up to around €100,000 for larger properties. Perhaps for this reason, it is an area popular with British buyers.
Last year, the percentage of sales to foreign buyers in the Confolens was 13%, a rise from 8% over 2017, but substantially down on 2008 when around one-third of house sales were to foreign purchasers, the vast majority of whom were British.
Despite the foreign interest, prices fell in the year by -4.1%.