France probably has one of the most stable property markets in Europe. Homes and apartments in France, especially in the French Riviera, are highly prized. The residential property market in France was stable even during the worst moments of the global recession that followed the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis in the USA. So, what should you look forward to if you’re interested in selling your property in France in 2016?
For one, you can expect to get a lot of interest from French properties from the UK and the USA, because of the favourable exchange rate scenario for buyers from these countries. The property market is set to pick up after four or five years of slow growth in prices.
The biggest factor in the real estate sector in France right now is the overwhelming interest shown by foreign investors. While domestic interest in property has been quite tepid, the foreign interest has picked up by quite a lot – not just from the UK or USA and other Western nations, but from rich, wealthy individuals from emerging nations and regions such as China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa and the Middle East.
Today, foreign buyers account for 20% to 25% of all property transactions in the French Riviera as well as in the French Alps. There’s actually been a 53% jump in interest shown in French real estate over the past 12-months and this looks set to continue in the near-term future as well.
The British have always been and continue to be the biggest buyers of properties in France. The Pounds Sterling continues to dominate the Euro. While the gap between the two currencies has tightened a bit over the past couple of months because of the uncertainty over the referendum to be held on June 23 which will decide whether Britain remains a part of the European Union or not, Britons still hold a tremendous buying power.
The interest from Scandinavia remains high, with Swedish buyers in particular showing a keen interest in buying ski chalets in the French Alps. Germans, Italians and the Swiss remain strong buyers of French properties. There is a great deal of interest coming in from super wealthy individuals from the Middle East as well.
The biggest development, though, has been the huge interest from Chinese investors, who have been snapping up vineyards in the French countryside, historic castles, chateaux, plush apartments in Paris and more. Indeed, the Chinese were the second biggest buyers of Paris apartments, accounting for 8% of the purchases made by foreign nationals 2015.
There is today a strong Chinese presence in France, especially in areas such as Hauts-de-Seine, which is the western inner suburb of Paris. Most Chinese investors are looking to buy properties in France from a long-term perspective.
Wealthy Chinese are very keen on diversifying their assets and shifting at least some part of their wealth outside China. Many have been burnt badly by the 2015 stock market crash in China. They consider the property market in France to be a safe haven for their sizeable financial assets.
Also, to have a property in France, such as an apartment in Paris, is a huge status symbol among wealthy Chinese, even though they typically spend only a few days a year in the apartment.
So things look good in France this 2016 and we expect the property market to witness a steady growth not just in 2016, but over the next 5 years as well. This is in spite of flash points such as the migrant crisis which has affected large parts of Europe. After all, France is one of the most desirable countries to live in for a lot of people around the world.