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Inside the Market / Market Trends

French government selling more real estate in Paris and around the country

Barracks, land, old prisons, offices, mansions, houses and apartments: over the next 3 years, the French government is planning the sale of nearly 2000 properties in Paris and throughout France, for an expected 2.2 billion euros in revenue. Sales of hundreds of properties from last year alone earned the state 590 million last year. This policy will continue.

Sales have accelerated since 2007 as a result of the debt restructuring initiated by President Nicolas Sarkozy, which consolidated numerous regional, departmental and federal services throughout the country. From empty office spaces to empty barracks or courthouses, the free space is being put on the market to the delight of French and international buyers.

Ultimately, over 85% of the gains from these sales were used to renovate or construct public buildings; only the remaining 15% went to reducing the state debt. That will change as of this year, with new laws requiring 20% of sales (excluding the property sales of the Ministry of Defense) will be earmarked toward debt reduction. That proportion will reach 30% in 2014.

The sales have proved a boon to local municipalities, who often acquire state assets or land for sale in their communities, then resell them after rezoning them for commercial and residential development. The 2012 presidential candidates have staked out their positions on the issue, with Francois Hollande advocating that municipalities be given the land for free, and Mr. Sarkozy preferring to accelerate land sales but continue to sell at fair market value.

Current state-owned properties for sale are listed online.

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