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Inside the Market / Market Trends

Saint-Malo’s real estate sector hopes for a boost from Parisian buyers

St Malo Digue de Rochebonne

A new high-speed train between Paris and Saint-Malo may wake the seaport’s property market from its slumber, encouraging Parisians to flock to the beaches to buy vacation homes.

The property market in Saint-Malo, a fortified port city located in Brittany in northwestern France, has not recovered from the economic crisis. After soaring in the 2000s and peaking in 2006, prices suffered a hit in 2008, and have seen a slow but continuous decline in volume and prices since then.

The Chamber of notaires of the Ille-et-Vilaine department observed that “sales volume decreased by 16% last year.” This lack of potential buyers has resulted in several building projects being halted mid-construction in recent years.

Malouin notary Alain Gautran mentions an abundant supply of property, allowing buyers to be more selective and bargain prices downward. He has seen margins between the offer price and final sales price continue to widen in the last years.

Since the beginning of the year, prices have dropped between 2 to 5%, depending on the type of property and location.

Local agent Xavier Etraves believes the price decline is likely to continue in coming months. This has already prompted some second home buyers – rare since 2009 — to return, many with budgets greater than 400,000 euros.

Saint Malo is nicknamed the “cité corsaire” — or pirate city —for its infamous history allowing corsairs and privateers to raid enemy ships at wartime off its coast. It has always been a popular tourist destination for French visitors and foreigners alike. Thanks to this, that the market for coastal property has remained relatively strong.

The city is looking forward to the completion of the LGVLigne Grande Vitesse, or high speed train line — between Saint-Malo to Paris. Scheduled for completion in 2017, the train will reduce the travel time to 2h15 from over 3 hours today. This will make Saint Malo the closest seaside resort to the capital alongside Deauville, the popular Normandy destination.  Real estate professionals hope this will encourage Parisians to buy pieds-à-terre and beachfront houses, and start a market revival.

The City is already anticipating the added flux of visitors come 2017 with a number of redevelopment projects, such as the creation of a new cultural center and the renovation of the district around the main train station.

Photo credit: Flickr / D Pascalou

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