Covid-19 disrupts the French real estate market
Covid-19 has shaken up the real estate market with Paris losing out, but almost every other region is benefiting as buyers seek greener and simpler lives after the pandemic.
Remote working, which the government has encouraged to allow businesses, means that many people no longer face grueling travel or are forced to live in a particular location.
Many have reassessed their homes and lifestyles and taken the plunge, which has spawned new real estate trends across the country.
Thierry Delesalle, spokesperson for the Chamber of Notaries of Paris, declared: “This is not a revolution, but an evolution which will continue. There were already a lot of people [before Covid struck] who had ideas about their homes that the pandemic has brought to the fore. They have been accelerated by the push for teleworking. “
Suzanne Jenkins-Pearce, who runs the Suzanne real estate agency in France in Normandy, said: “The suburbs of all the major cities have seen more interest and there is tremendous interest from domestic and foreign buyers in rural properties. in Normandy.”
The first lockout, last March, saw the market slow down drastically, but after that initial shock people started thinking about new ways of living and buying and selling properties picked up to a surprising degree. .
Figures from the Notaires de France show that one-year sales of older properties reached 1,020,000 transactions at the end of November, down just 4% compared to November 2019.
Prices also held up, posting a 6.4% increase nationwide on the year through the last quarter of 2020
Paris has reversed the trend, however, with a drop of 2% since the start of the pandemic.
Suburbs, towns within an hour’s drive from towns, and second homes or new homes in more remote areas have all benefited from the desire to move out of the city center.
There have been surprises for some sellers who have struggled to sell their homes because they were in what were previously considered hard-to-reach places.
These include Creuse, Massif Central or Perche, where, according to Mr. Delesalle, only the British or other foreigners would buy.
“But now the French say it would be nice to have a little second home over there, ”he said.
“Properties that had failed to find a buyer for 10 years have now not only found a buyer, but at twice the asking price.”
Another development in the real estate market is the emergence of what the French media have dubbed the semi-main residence.
Wealthy French families have always had their country house where they spent a few weeks a year during the holidays.
Today, many of these homes are used – by longtime owners or after being sold to newcomers – as places where people work remotely between trips to the office for a few days.
The buoyant real estate market is expected to continue, helped by banks willing to grant mortgages and by the fact that the French have money to spend after saving during the pandemic.
They currently have around 200 billion euros in savings.
Notaries of France strikes a note of warning in its latest report on real estate.
He wrote that “the real estate market is unlikely to be able to escape the looming economic and social crisis” which will come after the massive government spending needed to get the country through the pandemic.
The first low-cost flat-pack wooden house under construction in France