If the latest facts and figures from the Notaires de France indicate a decrease in residential real estate sales and a contraction of prices, it’s a trend that has escaped the south of France.
A report from the Notaires de France, which was released in July, has noted that the volume of sales of exisiting property – logements anciens – is falling year-on-year. 1.2 million transactions over 12 months were recorded by the notary service in the summer of 2021, a figure that fell to just over a million a year later. A final total for 2023 is anticipated to be in the realm of 950,000.
But the speed at which sales are falling is what stands out. Since August 2022, the number of transactions has decreased by 5% month-on-month, yet since the start of this year, this rate has increased considerably to reach –12.6% in May 2023.
So what’s the reason? Mortgage rates and borrowing rates have rocketed to levels not seen for more than a decade, exceeding the symbolic 5% cap for now all mortgages above 10 years.
This has meant that potential buyers are, simply, less likely to take the step of buying than they were a year ago.
Prices per square metre up or down?
According to the report, prices per square metre are falling too, by a national average of 1.1% in the final quarter of 2022 and the first of 2023. An average this may be, but it certainly isn’t a trend reflected across the country.
In Nice, the price per square metre rose by 7.8% to €4,620 according to data recorded between January and March 2023 and compared to dates from 2022. In Marseille, over the same time period, prices per square metre reached €3,130, up 8.9%. It was a similar story in Toulon: up 10% to €2,580.
British homeowners losing their influence
Purchases by foreign buyers represent around 1.8% of all transactions involving existing property in L’Hexagone.
British expats have long represented the largest portion of foreign homeowners in France, but their hold on the market is waning, and has been falling steadily since the referendum on British inclusion in the European Union.
Consequently, Belgians have now overtaken Brits in the number of residential real estate sales. After representing 15% of sales in 2021, British purchases stood for 17% of total foreign transactions in 2022. Belgian expats, meanwhile, increased their presence in the market to 19% in 2022.
The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region is the most popular of all French regions with overseas buyers, who represent 3.8% of its transactions. This has increased in recent years, but still falls short of the record 2015 figure of 5.2%.
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Photo source: Mony Misheal, Unsplash