The National Association of Estate Agents (FNAIM) believes the record level of 800,000 sales has been exceeded in 2015. Buyers are certainly not waiting around to make the most of current property market conditions.
Last year the French property market (excluding off-plan and buy-to-let purchases) approached its historical transaction records of the early 2000s, with 800,000 estimated sales in 2015, notes the FNAIM. After stabilisation in the first half of the year, the level rose ‘continuously and rapidly from June onwards, so that we could reach or even exceed 800,000 sales in 2015’ observed the professional organisation during a press conference.
‘This represents a return to the historical records of the early 2000s’ added the FNAIM. According to the organisation, this ‘acceleration in sales reflects the fact that buyers have continued to anticipate lower prices and therefore are more likely to expect to complete their project’. In early December, French notaries reported 753,000 transactions recorded over the last 12 months, an increase of 4%.
A two-speed market
However, it is still a ‘two-speed’ market since the increase in transactions does not apply to all market segments, or at least “not to the same degree,” noted FNAIM. Sales are up sharply in several areas: Brittany (+ 19.7%), Aquitaine (+ 18.3%), Centre, Lower Normandy and Rhône-Alps (between + 17% and + 18%), with somewhat lower growth in Champagne-Ardenne, Midi-Pyrénées, Limousin and Franche-Comté (11% to 13%) and Auvergne (+ 8.8%). However, in Corsica the recovery is less pronounced (+ 4.8%).
As for prices, they were down 1.9% at national level (-2% in the provinces, -1.4% in the Paris region) estimated the FNAIM. ‘The end of the fall is coming soon’ says Philippe Taboret, deputy general manager of credit broker Cafpi: ‘It is likely that the consequences of the US central bank (FED) policy will impact us in the second half of 2016. From there, rates will go up quietly and we might be on average at 2.5% by the end of the year.’