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Inside the Market / Market Stats

French housing construction sector returns to form

maison neuve

After several lethargic years, construction of housing units and the delivery of building permits are on the rise again, according to statistics from the housing sector.

The recovery of the French construction sector that began last year has now been confirmed based on figures about the first quarter of 2016 released by the General Commission for Sustainable Development.

These statistics, released end March 2016, “show a marked acceleration in the last quarter, in terms of permits delivered and the start of unit construction” said the Housing Ministry in a statement.

The number of units given building permits totaled 102,300 in just 3 months, up 5.2% from the previous quarter. Housing construction starts rose by almost 2% during Q1 2016 compared to Q4 2015. The number of units started over a year totaled 351,200, a 2.5% increase over the previous year.

Commercial property construction — which includes warehouses, industrial buildings, commercial spaces, agricultural buildings and hotel accommodation — is also on the rise, with 8.7 million square meters authorized in the first three months of 2016. This equals a year on year increase of 12.5%.

The Île-de-France region has done especially well, with 75,000 building permits delivered over the past 12 months — a 19% increase on the previous year — and 65,000 construction starts — an increase of 21%.

The Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region (+18.5%), the Pays de la Loire (10.9%), Brittany (8.1%) and Corsica especially (131.7%!) have also recorded an increase in construction activity over the past year.

The Pinel tax program, which allows property investors to enjoy fiscal advantages when they rent new property in tight areas to certain family members, has been largely credited for boosting the sector and cementing the recovery.

These advantages are due to be extended till end 2017, rather than ending at the end of this year as planned, to the delight of property constructors and investors alike.

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