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Inside the Market / Market Stats

Paris property prices decrease: It’s time to buy

Paris Sunset Flickr : Moyan Brenn

The Paris real estate market is experiencing a marked revival, with prices falling, sellers willing to negotiate and interest rates on real estate loans at a record low.

These favorable conditions have led to a recovery in the capital. This trend, observed by the Paris notaires in their latest property report, is confirmed by industry professionals.

The General Council for the Environment and Sustainable Development (CGEDD) notes that in May 2015 sales over the previous twelve months totaled 711,000 transactions against 702,000 a year earlier.

Meilleursagents.com have found that “the buyers are back and the balance between supply and demand has recovered”. This surge in transactions is a result of a decrease in property prices.

After a significant peak, the capital has seen average prices fall below 8,000 euros per square meter in early 2015, reports the Paris notaires. A welcome decline which has seen buyers once again cross the threshold of real estate agencies.

A sharp decline in prices is observed between 1st July 2014 and 30th June 2015: they have dropped by 2.6% for Century 21, 2.2% for the Fnaim and 2.1% for Guy Hoquet.

L’Express has published an interactive map pinpointing new adjusted prices per m2 in different areas in Paris.

Paris map

According to the notaires, the decrease in prices is sharper for apartments than for houses: with -2.7% and -2% respectively.

Averages conceal wide disparities within districts as well, and even within a same building, where prices vary depending on various factors. Sébastien de Lafond, CEO of MeilleursAgents, notes that “in one same building, the difference between a dark apartment on the ground floor and one on the top floor overlooking a monument can reach 50%”.

Certain property prices are still overvalued up to 5%, according to Olivier Eluère, economist at the Crédit Agricole, yet buyers were still more numerous in the first half of 2015 than in the last few years to put their purchasing projects into action.

“in one same building, the difference between a dark apartment on the ground floor and one on the top floor overlooking a monument can reach 50%”

Another factor aiding purchasing candidates is the low interest level of real estate loans.

De Lafond notes that with loan interest rates at 2% today — down from 4% in July 2011 — alongside lower property prices, purchasing power for Parisians has increased by 27% in four years.

Since Autumn 2013, rates have fluctuated slightly without ever crossing the 3% threshold. The particularly low interest level they reached the first half of 2015 triggered a wave of applications, even creating delays in processing. Vousfinancer.com reports that real estate loan applications have increased by 20% in this period.

With these historically low levels combined with falling prices and sellers newly ready to negotiate, all the ingredients are there to entice buyers to compete their purchasing projects and thus revive the capital’s real estate market. After years of doubting and waiting, many buyers are back in the agencies, waking the property sector from its inertia.

Among them are foreigners and particularly Americans, on the hunt once again for small pieds-à-terre in the capital’s central-western areas, while Parisians are taking advantage of the decline in prices to invest in northeastern areas, on their way to becoming fashionable.

Yet this increase in activity does not yet denote sustained recovery. “It’s too early to declare victory, the balance is still precarious” warns Fabrice Abraham, managing director of Guy Hoquet. He adds that buyers’ enthusiasm remains fragile, as does the French and European economy, with the influence of the Greek crisis, increased tax and rising unemployment.

According to him the soufflé can fall quickly, especially if rates increase as well — they have already gone up 0.2% in July — and if stabilizing prices begin to rise again.

One more reason to enjoy “this small window of opportunity that may not last” says Brice Cardi CEO of L’Adresse.

Real recovery could arrive within two years believes Eluère: “Once this stabilization trend is completed, the market could start up again properly in 2017”. This return to normal would this time be accompanied by a rise in property prices.

 

Photo credit: Flickr / Moyan Brenn

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