The French property market is bracing itself for a tough year ahead in 2010 but real estate experts do not expect a sudden recovery despite prices showing signs of stabilising.
Although the global economic downturn has made the last 18 months hard for the real estate industry, France has benefitted from not having an overpriced market and a system that is more cautious and less gung-ho in terms of lending.
It hasn’t seen the kind of boom and bust that has affected its neighbours in Spain and Britain.
But the economic crisis has dented confidence and recent research from the FNAIM, the professional organisation for estate agents which has 12,000 members, shows that in France people think it is not a good time to buy or sell despite average price declines of 5% in 2009 compared with the previous year making it very much a buyer’s market.
The Alps have been particularly badly hit because in this part of France demand meant houses have been over priced. ‘It has been extremely difficult.
Many buyers over stretched themselves and have been experiencing financial difficulties,’ said Andrew Hawkins of Chesterton Humberts International, chartered surveyors and estate agents.
He predicts things will pick up in the middle of the year.
Others agree. ‘In the French Alps prices have dropped by between 10% and 20%, depending on location, which is highly unusual because French property is much less prone to acute movements in price.
Lack of supply is now preventing prices from falling further and there are good deals to be found throughout the area,’ said Nigel Hindle of Property Vision France.
Whereas Aquitaine and Languedoc Roussillon have ridden out the recession well with house prices down just 0.3% and 0.2% respectively.
Hawkins predicts that well located houses in good repair, with pools, especially those along the coast on either side of Marseille will do well in 2010.
‘Marseille and its environs have become increasingly popular with investors especially with government investment in the city,’ he added.
Alistair Lockhart, Sales and Marketing Manager at The French Property Agents (FPA) is also confident about the region. ‘We feel that the Dordogne will make a comeback in 2010.
Prices have been artificially high for the last five years and they are now coming down making the area more accessible,’ he said.
In and around Marseille is his top tip for 2010. ‘Marseilles will see much regeneration work in the next few years, especially round the harbour area.
This is definitely an area for the buyer, particularly the Haussman apartments,’ he added.
Popular areas like Normandy and Brittany area also expected to do well as there is always demand from families looking for holiday homes.
According to Trevor Leggett, Owner of Leggett Immobilier, property that is well priced will sell in 2010.
He believes that the downturn has been good for the property market as prices were too inflated in many regions and that put off the mainstream buyers who are French not foreigners.[Property Wire News]