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Inside the Market / Market Trends

Parisian service rooms worth a fortune, according to new study

Paris roof tops

Nestled in the attics of Parisian buildings, service rooms, maids rooms, or chambres de bonne as they are referred to in French, are selling like hot cakes, according to the notaires.

A new study by the Parisian notaires entitled “Three decades of real estate in Paris” has found that service rooms in the capital are fetching handsome sums. This “niche” sector of the real estate market reportedly weathered the 2008-2009 crisis, resisting the severe slump that affected the rest of the housing stock. An absolute godsend for their owners, who can sell these tiny spaces for prices in excess of 9,000 euros per square meter.

In 2015, purchasing a service room cost 70,500 euros on average, and almost 100,000 euros in the chic 16th arrondissement. Let us recall that these rooms measure only between 5 and 15 square meters on average — and it is illegal to rent one out measuring less than 9 square meters — and often have the bathroom on the landing, which is sometimes shared. The notaires specify that of those sold between 2009 and 2015, only 15% had a self-contained bathroom.

Nonetheless, these “comfortless” spaces, as the notaires put it, continue to fetch pricey sums — due to the housing shortage perhaps — selling at the high rate of 2,500 per year since 1990. Rent controls introduced last year have resulted in a slight decrease in sales, with only 1,700 rooms bought last year. But their prices have not fallen. The study reveals that the most expensive 10% of service rooms sold from 2009 to 2015 saw their prices swell by 84% since 1990.

It is estimated that there are over 115,000 of these small service rooms tucked away under the roofs of the capital’s freestone Haussmannian buildings. Out of these, 100,000 are believed to be vacant, with the City of Paris projecting to buy them and convert them into private or social housing.

Photo credit: Wikipedia / Jorge Royan


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