- France is a huge, diverse country with a terrific variety of properties
- The real estate market is buoyant just now, with solid increases seen in 2019
- Prices are expected to carry on rising in 2020 and beyond, with some regions performing better than others
France has always been an attractive place for anyone looking to move abroad. It is also a good time to look at whether it could be the right place to invest in property just now.
A Big, Varied Country
France is the 42nd biggest country on the planet but the biggest in Western Europe. This means that the property market is huge. From sprawling cities like Paris and Marseille to mountains, coastline and rolling countryside, there is something here for every taste.
Whether you like skiing, heading to the beach or making your own wine, there are locations here that will keep you happy.
In terms of the properties for sale, there is also a lot of variety. It has traditionally offered terrific value for money in terms of big farms and other rural properties, while the cities have a wide range of urban options.
The Current Property Market
The property market in France is going through an excellent spell right now. The official French notaries website pointed out in October 2019 that the market is buoyant just now. They noted that the number of transactions has been growing month on month.
Their figures state that over a million completions were done between June and October last year. The growth rate was 10.6% for the year to October.
A different set of figures shows us that prices have risen for the 13th successive quarter. The average increase was around 3% in 2019, which was the highest rate of price rises since the final quarter of 2011.
There are some interesting factors behind this price surge.
- A strong, consistent level of demand
- A fairly limited supply of properties (far fewer new houses are being approved)
- Mortgage rates that are at historically low levels
- Foreign buyers taking advantage of the excellent value here
It is worth noting that growth varies widely by city and region. If you are thinking of investing in property in France then you need to research the local market carefully. Some cities have seen growth of 8% or 9% in the last year while others have stagnated.
Predictions for 2020 and Beyond
It is expected that the property market here will continue to grow at around 3%. This is fairly modest but remember that in some places the true figure will be a lot higher.
The number of British buyers has dropped slightly, from being 3 in 5 prime purchasers in 2014 to 1 in 5. However, an influx of buyers from Belgium, Scandinavia and the Middle East has helped fill this gap.
The French property scene isn’t as volatile as in places like Spain and Portugal. The prices fell during the economic crash of 2008 but not as heavily as in other countries. Since then, they have reverted to growing roughly in line with inflation or a little above.
The Best Places to Buy
Paris looks like a particularly good bet in 2020. The Grand Paris Project will see the capital’s infrastructure boosted in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics to be held here. It is currently the biggest construction project in Europe and should see property prices climb more steeply than in other parts of the country.
The South of the country is particularly appealing to Middle East investors. This influx of money from abroad should continue to boost the prices here more than in most of the North.