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Rural House Prices in France 2020

Thursday 03 June 2021

The average sale price of a rural French property rose by 6.5% last year to €182,000, as buyers sought refuge in the countryside against the pandemic.

The analysis comes from the annual review of the housing market for country properties in 2020 recently been published by the French rural land agency, SAFER.

According to the agency, the large increase occurred after three years of relatively modest rises - +2.7% in 2017 and 2018, and 3.8% in 2019.

The rise in rural house prices mirrors the price increase in all older housing in France (urban and rural) that was reported by the notaires last month. See below.

As with the notaires, the agency speculate on the durability of the 'urban exodus', noting that in 2020 buyers were significantly more geographically mobile. There is also growing evidence that a lot of companies and public sectors bodies are moving to more flexible working arrangements between home and office.

The agency report a two-speed level of activity in the year, with most of the sales and rise in prices occurring in the second half of the year, following the lockdown that between March and May. Total sales for the year were +6.6% up on 2019 and the total value of the sales up +12.1%.

Prices rose spectacularly in some departments, notably around the Paris Basin - Côte-d’Or (+19.4%), Yvelines (+12.8%), Yvonne (+12.4%), and +11.2% in the Somme.

However, as we have stated before with the SAFER annual review, the calculation of price increases is based on a limited number of transactions (120,000 in total) so the figures should only be used as a pointer to a trend.

In other departments elsewhere in France there was a significant increase in prices - Haute-Marne (+15.2%), Hautes-Alpes (+10.2%), Vaucluse, (+11.4%), Finistère (+11.2%), and +10.4% in Haute-Saône. In Normandy, sales increased by up to +22.% (Orne) where prices rising by an average of +8.4%. In the Eure and the Calvados the increase in sales was less marked, but prices still rose +9.6% and +11.2% respectively.

At the other end of the scale, the significant increase in sales in some departments was not reflected in such spectacular increase in prices. Thus, in the Creuse, Moselle and Aveyron prices remained stable.

Where there was no increase in sales, but a shortage of suitable property existed, prices also rose, notably in the Bouches-du-Rhône (+11.9%), Herault (+21%), Rhône (+13.8%) and Nord (+6.8%).

The definition of a 'maison de campagne' used in the study is 'un bâtiment résidentiel vendu avec un terrain agricole ou naturel libre de moins de 5 hectares, acquis par des non-agriculteurs.'

As can be seen from the graphic below, prices vary substantially between the regions; the least expensive areas, with average prices less than €110K, are Central and North East France, the Pyrenees and central Brittany.

Highest average prices greater than €250K are around the Paris Basin, Alsace, Haute-Savoie, the Mediterranean coast, the Atlantic coast, and around the cities of Lyon, Toulouse, Reims, Nantes, and Bordeaux.

International Buyers

The year was also marked a decrease of -2.3% in the number of international buyers, mainly due to the pandemic, although such sales also fell -0.7% in 2019.

International buyers accounted for 4% of the total rural sales last year, down from 4.4% in 2019 and 5.1% in 2018.

Purchases by British buyers fell by -8% in the year, following a fall of -9.5% in 2018. Nevertheless, sales to UK buyers still account for around a quarter of all sales to international buyers.

As can be seen from the graphic below, sales to non-residents were over 15% of total sales in some areas, notably in the Central West of the country.

Source:Terres d’Europe-Scafr d’après Safer.

Related Reading:

View a selection of rural properties for sale in France

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