Confidence returns to Paris residential market says Savills

Confidence returns to Paris residential market says Savills
Confidence returns to Paris residential market says Savills

Paris is a top-tier world city that offers value on a global stage.

The Savills combined world city ranking for connectedness, competitiveness, power and performance often places Paris third, after London and New York.

But several years of more muted performance have left residential costs significantly lower than its rivals.

However, with a new political regime, historically low interest rates and building consumer confidence, the residential market has now possibly turned.

Prices in the prime Paris residential market rose by 4.3% in 2016 and the pace of price growth has picked up in 2017.

“Stock levels have been starting to contract over the last year which will continue to push prices higher in the coming months”, said Hugues de La Morandière, partner of Savills residential in Paris.

Across the whole market, prices stood at €8,430psm in February 2017. Leading indicators from Notaires suggest a price of €8,700psm in June 2017, bringing price growth to 7% for the last 12 months.

In the prime market, prices have also grown from a 2014 low, averaging between €12,000 and €18,000psm, while exceptional properties are trading for between €20,000 and €30,000psm. 

Values in the 1st, 4th and 5th arrondissements have already exceeded their 2012 peak.

Paul Tostevin, associate director, Savills World Research, said recently the recovery was being driven by domestic demand.

"Activity has been buoyed by record low interest rates and more-competitive asking prices.

"This year, the prospect of interest rate rises has encouraged more buyers to close deals and stock levels have fallen.

“Overseas buyers accounted for just 9% of the prime market in 2016, but we expect them to grow in importance. 

"The new Government will bring clarity on legislation and a period of relative stability.

"This could encourage buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines to act, including expat French citizens looking to return home.”

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Confidence returns to Paris residential market says Savills

Prime Paris is characterised by apartments of the Haussmann era, with limited new development. 

Consequently, modern buildings with high levels of services and amenities (a type favoured by wealthy international buyers) are relatively rare in Paris.

Pied-á-terres, larger apartments and mansions are favoured by both French and international high net worth individuals (HNWIs).

Family apartments are sold mainly to the French.

Overseas buyers accounted for 9% of prime Paris sales in 2016, down from a peak of 14% in 2008.

Americans, who benefit from a strong dollar, dropped from 21% of foreign buyers in 2015 to 16% in 2016.

Other Europeans are the largest single foreign buyer group (39%), led by the British, Swiss and Belgians.

The Chinese, a huge tourist group, have yet to make their mark as property buyers.

The perception of France as a high-tax location has weighed on the prime markets.

But Savills analysis of buying, holding and selling costs in major world cities suggests this is unfounded.

Property taxes and fees are, in fact, average by global standards.

Purchase costs in particular, are lower than many rival cities. Hong Kong, Vancouver and Singapore all levy an additional 15% stamp duty on foreign buyers (on top of existing stamp duties).

Beyond property, France’s much quoted 75% income tax rate is not payable by those whose source of income is from another country.

Paul Tostevin suggested the election of Emmanuel Macron as the new French president should mean a period of stability for the Parisian residential market.

"Reduced political risk in Europe coupled with pro-business reforms could result in renewed economic growth and stimulate the residential markets. 

"The abolition of Wealth Tax (ISF) will improve France’s attractiveness to HNWIs, although taxation on real estate at the current ISF thresholds are set continue.”

Mark Harvey, head of European sales at Knight Frank, noted last month that online searches for French property on Knight Frank’s website had increased by 97 per cent in April 2017 compared to March, and across the country 30,909 properties changed hands in the first quarter of 2017, up 8 per cent on the same period in 2016 and 29 per cent on 2015.

Despite price growth in the prime Paris residential market of 7 per cent in the past 12 months, less than 15 per cent of HNW buyers are foreign, compared to around 60 per cent in London, according to Savills.

It seems Paris’s high-end housing stock is typified by gloomy 19th-century apartments whose stuffy interiors are worlds away from the open-plan, wrap-around glazed affairs favoured by most international buyers.

‘Unlike London, where there are upwards of 20-25 large developments going on, in Paris there are fewer than three," Hugues de la Morandière told the Spear's wealth management website last month.

"Consequently, Paris tends to be less attractive to people who want something of international standards, although there is a new trend of interior designers renovating older apartments into something more modern."

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Savills Consumer Confidence

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