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Inside the Market / Market Trends

The French State continues its real estate sell-off

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The French State is one of the biggest holders of state-owned property in the world. It held €59,384 billion of real estate at the end of 2013 and continues its policy of divestment. In 2012, its property assets were valued at €60,064 billion.

The State’s holdings include buildings on prime sites and historic monuments as well as building plots and other land. It is currently looking to sell almost 1,800 properties and a further 400 are in the process of being sold. All of these properties are listed on a dedicated Finance Ministry website.

The French State owns real estate throughout France and in other European countries, the U.S., Canada and Africa. Twenty-three foreign properties are for sale, most of them currently occupied by the Foreign Ministry. They include one of the most prestigious addresses in the world: a seven story building on New York’s Fifth Avenue, comprising six apartments and a duplex. The asking price is $32.5 million (€24 million).

In May 2014, the French state sold another luxurious New York apartment, an 18 room duplex on Park Avenue. Previous residents include Jackie Kennedy and John D. Rockefeller. The former residence of the French Ambassador to the United Nations, it went for $70 million (€52 million euros).

Back in France, a French real estate trust recently purchased the prestigious Abbaye de Penthemont office complex in Paris’s 7th arrondissement (district) from the government. The sale price was not disclosed but a French Senate report valued the property at €77 million in late 2013.

French government agencies are also being encouraged to sell off their assets. The French national railroad company, SNCF, sold 20,000m2 of offices near the Saint-Lazare Station in Paris to U.S. fund Carlyle Real Estate in December 2013.

The French State’s sales target for 2014 is €470 million, a much-needed boost to the government’s coffers.


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