French real estate in numbers and figures
The latest statistics by INSEE, the French statistics body, reveal what type of property French buyers favor, how many are comfortable in their homes and the average size of housing units in France, among other key figures.
France has a rich housing stock comprised of 35.1 million homes. Of these, 82% are main homes while 9% are secondary residences. Vacant units represent a whopping 8% of French property, with 2.9 million homes left empty. Se Loger interprets the latest statistics from INSEE, the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies where property ownership is concerned.
A preference for houses:
France’s residents have a slight preference for houses over apartments, with the former representing 56% of all homes and 69% of the country’s residents living in houses.
Average prices per square meter for houses in France is 2,834 euros and 3,398 euros for apartments. The average size of housing units is 91 square meters, slightly higher than the average for 2012 of 89 m2. Obviously, this average hides wide surface disparities — ranging from studios to lavish mansions. Its slight increase does however point to a steady growth in purchasing power for French buyers, achieved through a combination of falling property prices and low interest rates.
A majority of homeowners — most of them with mortgages:
According to INSEE, 60% of French households own their primary residence, with 540,000 new residential property acquisitions in 2015. The vast majority of these owners have yet to pay off their mortgages however, with just 41% of households having paid off their debt. Nonetheless, this figure is reportedly an improvement over previous years. Low interest rates on loans have led to 80% of buyers purchasing homes on credit. Indeed, rates are currently at an all-time low.
French residents are increasingly comfortable in their homes:
An interesting factor to survey, housing comfort in France has been steadily improving since the 1970s according to the INSEE. Today, 6% of households report not feeling comfortable in their homes, down from 15% in 1973.
In 2013, just 1% of homes lacked one of the following basic comforts: running water, a shower or bath inside the property and toilets inside the property, down from 15% in 1974. Nonetheless, the proportion of homes without heating or electricity varied little between 2010 and 2015, decreasing only from 5.3% to 4.5% in five years, and properties with leaks, mold or damp foundations still account for 12% of all homes, as many as 10 years ago.
Nonetheless, latest figures show that an impressive 60% of owner-occupied homes present no flaws. For tenant-occupied property, this number drops to 40%. Nonetheless, renting one’s home is still popular in France. The country is in 5th place in the European rental ranking, behind Germany (47.5% of renters), Austria (42.8%), Denmark (36.7%) and the United Kingdom (35.2%), with 34.9% of residents renting.
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