Will election of new Sun King brighten France’s sclerotic property market in 2017?

With one of the largest volumes of tourists in any country, France has a steady stream of tourists every year wanting to see and experience Paris – the city of lights and love. Thousands of people want to settle in the country and buying residential properties is on an upward trend — proving that the property market in France is the most popular in Europe, especially for non-nationals.

France economy posted a marginally less anaemic growth of 1.3% last year and experts claim that the country will see the same progress this year.

House prices in France are slightly up by 0.78% in 2016. The price increase was attributed to low mortgage interest rates and rising demand for residential units – the sclerosis is healing though, so it’s a good time to buy now.

In Paris, house prices are US$1,097 per square foot (sq. ft.). Gross rental yields range from 3.59% to 4.21%. Smaller apartments have higher yields in the city.

The city of Nice offers apartments for US$503 per sq. ft. with rental yields of 3.5%. Bordeaux offers units at a cheaper price of US$386 per sq. ft. and higher rental yields ranging from 3.79% to 4.08%.

There are no restrictions for non-French who want to buy a house in France. People usually turn to a notaire (lawyer) or estate agent when purchasing a property. French families customarily ask their lawyer to sell the property for them.

Most properties are likely to be freehold and are available in two forms: co-ownership and volumes. Others are for lease and France allows leases for up to 99 years.

Non-French must be concerned with the French law in inheritance under the Napoleonic Code. It states that all real estate in France is governed by French succession laws and children are “protected heirs” and cannot be disinherited. Thus, they receive a certain proportion of the estate and this applies whether one is a resident or non-resident of France at the time of death. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that all properties of people who die without heirs are transferred to the French State.

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