Property sales in France soaring compared with last year and prices are generally stable

Residential property prices in France remained stable in the third quarter of 2010 with only Paris and the Ile de France seeing any significant increases, according to the latest figures to be published.

Although overall the outlook is positive, some regions of the country are still seeing prices fall, most notably in Normandy, Picardie and Lorraine, the figures from FNAIM, the national association of French estate agents, show.
The figures are very general, with the FNAIM saying that prices are up between 2.5% and 6% in Paris and the Ile de France and have also increased in Aquitaine, Brittany and PACA (Provence and the Cote D’Azur). And they have fallen between 2.5% and 6% in lower Normandy, Picardie and Lorraine.
The outlook is for sales activity to rise. FNAIM estimate that sales will exceed 700,000 this year, against less than 600,000 last year and over 800,000 in 2007. It is also predicting an increase in prices of between 2% and 3%. This is a more positive forecast than the last one from FNAIM which suggested that prices could go either up or down by 2% or 3%.
One of the main reasons for the improvement in their forecast is because of the fall in mortgage interest rates, which, at an average of 3.3%, are at their lowest for over 50 years.
Other factors driving the market are the prospective end to mortgage tax relief, as well as a reduction in tax breaks for investment properties, both effective from 1st January 2011.
There is far less detail in the report from FNAIM than is normally the case, suggesting that they are far less confident of their analysis than may have been the case in the past. However the situation in Paris and the Ile de France is confirmed by figures from French Notaires who reported recently that prices in the second quarter had risen by 6%.

Slightly more detail can be found in the latest figures from Century 21, one of the largest chain of estate agents in France. They state prices are stable apart from in Burgundy where they are down 5.9%) Auvergne down 4.5%, Lower Normandy down 2.27% and Champagne Ardennes down 2.25%