Buzz Returns to French Property Market

Buzz Returns to French Property Market, as Sales and Enquiries Rise

• Mortgage applications up 9% during August
• Property sales 15% higher during August
• West of France proves the most popular with British Buyers

Interest in the French property market continued to grow during August, in line with positive macro-economic news.
In mid-August, it emerged that France was the first of the EU nations to come out of recession, showing growth of 0.3% between April and June.

Relative to the UK, the French economy has been much less exposed to the hard-hit financial services sector, while the property market, and household finances generally, are also less geared on debt.
Athena Mortgages saw an 18% rise in mortgage enquiry levels during August (on July) and a 9% rise in mortgage applications.

Its figures were consistent with those of Sextant French Property Agents, the network of French estate agents, where enquiries were up 30% in August relative to July, and sales a significant 15% higher.

During August, property prices across France as a whole fell back slightly (-1.2%) according to data from French estate agency body, FNAIM, although there were naturally regional and area-specific variations, making for interesting negotiating conditions.

Average prices, despite recent rises in some areas, are still significantly discounted relative to 18 months ago, and are one of the key drivers of interest from would be bottom-fishers.

The area of France that is most popular with British buyers at present is the West. In Brittany, enquiry levels from British buyers were up 25% in August, and these buyers are mainly looking for older properties that are in need of redecoration and refurbishment. The average sale price in Brittany is currently €130,000.

Budgets are bigger in the two other most popular areas, Poitou-Charentes (€300,000) and the Dordogne (€200,000), and again the focus is on property in need of refurbishment.

John Luke Busby, director, Athena Mortgages, comments:
“There’s a feeling among prospective buyers of French property that we’re now in the bottom of the trough and that if they don’t make the move soon, they will lose out on some of the most competitive prices to be had in a long, long time. This is reflected in the growing number of estate agent enquiries and mortgage applications. The buzz that once surrounded French property is beginning to come back. People now have the chance to buy in at prices that would have been unthinkable a few years back and lock in to very attractive mortgage rates.”

Matthieu Cany, managing director, Sextant French Property Agents, adds:

“Both enquiry levels and actual sales are really picking up. As in the UK, people are sensing that now is a window to buy French property at exceptionally competitive prices, and more and more people are doing just that. Most of them are targeting properties that need work. They obviously feel that by adding value to a property they will amplify the upside when the market bounces back.”

For more information, contact:

Dominic Hiatt, Rhizome PR — 020 8670 4920 | 07595 221604
Jonathan Stevens, Rhizome PR — 020 8257 5183 | 07977 119579

About Athena Mortgages
Athena Mortgages is a close-knit, multi-lingual team with significant experience in the French property market. We have helped thousands of clients find the best available mortgage for their French property. We work closely with many French property developers, who choose us for the clarity and simplicity of our presentation. We continue to search for the best deal for our clients right up to the day of transfer of the property. We pride ourselves on professional service and dedication to finding the best offer until the date of signature. We are happy to welcome clients at our offices in London and Paris!

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