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Property Market

French Farmhouse Prices in 2012

Thursday 04 July 2013

In their annual review of the rural property market, the French land agency SAFER provide a glimpse into trends in house prices and international buying activity.

Each year the French national rural land agency SAFER (Société d'aménagement foncier et d'établissement rural) undertakes a review of the rural property market.

Although the focus of the report is primarily on farmland prices and activity, the agency also casts an eye over the market for countryside residential properties.

Their ability to do so stems from the fact that they are active participants in the market, with a right of pre-emption over all rural property sales.

It is only a partial insight for their perspective is hampered by the limited number of house sales in which they are involved, normally around 30,000 transactions a year, against around 700,000 total residential sales in France.

Nevertheless, as they view all activity that takes place, whether or not they are actually buyers, the report is a useful addition to the range of information available, and the focus is of particular interest to international home buyers, most of whom seek property in this market.

In their report, SAFER state that on average rural house prices fell by 3.5% in 2012, but that over a two year period they have increased by +0.6%.

However, as the graphic below shows, there are huge variations in the movement of prices across the country over this two year period, with prices falling by more than -15% in some areas, but actually increasing by as much in others.

As far as average prices are concerned, the following graphic shows that highest prices are around the Parisien Basin, Alsace, Haute-Savoie, Lyon, the Mediterranean coast, the Altantic coast, Toulouse and Bordeaux.

By contrast, cheaper areas are the regions of Brittany, Centre, Auvergne, Limousin and Champagne-Ardenne, as well as parts of some other regions.

International Buyers

The percentage number of international buyers in 2012 was 6.4%, much the same as in 2010 and 2011, although substantially below the record figure of 14.3% in 2004.

The British continue to represent by far the largest contingent of buyers, with 42% of all international sales to buyers originating from the United Kingdom.

In second place were the Belgiums (18.7% of buyers), showing strong growth since 2009. They were followed by the Swiss (9%), followed by the Dutch (8.2%. All other countries each accounted for less than 2% of sales.

International buyers are also continuing to buy in those places where they have done so in the past, with most being in the Central West of the country, notably in Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes, Limousin, and also parts of Midi-Pyrenees, Burgundy and Languedoc-Roussillon. By contrast, the departments around the Mediterranean attracted buyers of a diverse range of countries.

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