Is this the right time to sell property in France? France has had a relatively calm year in 2016, even as Britain was under a lot of political turmoil because of Brexit. But there is every reason to believe that 2017 might well be the year of change in France.
The French Presidential elections are scheduled to be held in 2017, and far-right leader, Marine Le Pen of the National Front is leading in all opinion polls. There’s no question that she is the favourite to be the new President of France and if that does happen, we are in for an interesting year indeed.
For one, Ms. Le Pen has been very clear about wanting to have a Brexit of her own, Frexit, as she calls it. There are a number of people in France who want to get out of the European Union, and in Ms. Le Pen, they have found their voice.
A Frexit, if it were to happen, will have serious consequences for those who have a property for sale in France. It would have an impact on the French economy for sure, and affect the real estate market in many ways. A number of multinationals have been considering moving their headquarters to Paris from London following Brexit; so if France moves in that direction as well, this will not be taken positively by these companies.
A French economy had done reasonably well in 2016, growing at 1.3%. This is expected to accelerate in 2017, and we expect a GDP growth of 1.4% in 2017. France does have a problem with high fiscal deficit and the government has been working hard to cut down the public expenditure. The property market has certainly been affected by this.
Surprisingly, though, the French real estate market has done pretty well in 2016. Home prices rose by 0.5% in 2016, and the number of property sales shot up by 15%. Clearly, Brexit didn’t have much of an impact on France despite the fact that Britons are among the biggest buyers of properties here. There are estimated to be over 175,000 British expats living in France.
If one were to discount the political situation, there is no reason for 2017 to be a poor year for the French property market. Experts predict home prices to rise by 2% to 3% in 2017, which is pretty decent for a country as stable as France.
Bordeaux, Nantes and Toulouse posted the highest growth in home prices in 2016 – of 6% - and they are expected to maintain the momentum going forward as well.
Paris has had a good year as well. Apartment prices in Paris remain as high as ever. There is a lot of interest from wealthy Chinese investors in luxury apartments in Paris. There are also a number of rich non-EU investors from Middle Eastern countries such as UAE, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon who have been eager to buy apartments in Paris.
There is the usual demand from cash rich buyers from the United States, Scandinavian nations such as Sweden and Norway, Australia and Germany in properties in France. Britons continue to be big buyers as well – they are not going anywhere as yet. So, 2017 promises to be an interesting year for the real estate market in France.