The last market update I did was at the beginning of the Autumn
I reported that we had a busy summer with lots of transactions thanks to more negotiation than normal and lower prices. So a good time to buy a chalet or apartment but not a great time to sell one.
The Connexion newspaper has just done a “Property Supplement” that looks at the figures across France for 2009. *
Many of the figures they use fly in the face of our experience. In general they report that 2009 was a difficult year for property sales in all respects. This opionion is contrary to ours and could be explained by:
- They are looking at 2009 as a whole, I report on what has happened over the last couple of months.
- They are using figures for either the whole of France or individual departments, our experience is just of a few particular ski stations and the surrounding areas.
Some of the facts used by The Connexion are:
- Total Sales
2009 = approx 550,000
2008 = 770,000
2007 = 844,00
- Mortgages down 22% on 2008
- 5,000 (out of 35,000) estate agents shut their doors in 2009.
I don’t dispute any of these figures, they just (on the whole) don’t match up with our “local” experience. One of the findings we do agree with is:
- Lowest level of housing construction since 1998 – Though even this is picking up again now.
The Connexion does pick up on an anomalous statistic being quoted by the FNAIM (The French Estate Agents Association), that in general house prices have increased by 3% over the year. I don’t think anyone agrees with this – even their spokesman questioned this – and for that he ended up having to find another job!
Our opinion is that property prices have fallen over 2009. It’s difficult to put a figure on it, as it depends on the type, value and location of the property. Some generalisations follow.
- The big name resorts (Megève and Chamonix) have resisted the price falls but then they have probably seen less transactions as a result.
- The smaller ski areas (Grand Bornand, La Clusaz, Morzine, Les Gets, Samoens, Chatel etc) have seen quite large price reductions of 10 to 30% on asking prices.
- The outlying areas (St Jean d’Aulps, Le Biot, Verchaix etc) have seen two effects. Cheap family homes have held their value (so chalets for less than 400,000 Euros), there are a lot of people that live and work in the resorts that need to house their families, these properties are less effected by speculation and the bubble that was created by the second home price inflation. Small apartments have held up in the outlying areas too. The property that is really struggling is the larger (so 600k+) property in the outlying areas, few families working in the Haute Savoie can afford a family home of that price and people looking for a second home are being more cautions and insisting on regarding their properties as investments that can provide an income, this leads them to look into the centre of the resorts where the rental incomes are more secure.
So too cut a rather lengthy post short.
- Property Transactions are still fluid, in fact they have returned to post 2009 levels.
- Prices have come down, or at the very least the owners will negotiate heavily.
- Mortgage rates have improved.
- There is still no shortage of properties coming onto the market 244 properties are listed on our website, up from 228 in September 2009.
Some further examples of the latest properties for sale can be found below.
Our most expensive recent additon.
Appt. Cloud Nine (located in CHAMONIX & VALLEY)
2 250 000 €uros
A simply stunning, 4 bedroom luxury apartment in central Chamonix.
Our least expensive recent addition.
Appt Bellevue 10 (located in MORZINE)
149 000 €uros
A one bedroom apartment in Morzine
A lovely chalet above Samoens.
Demi-Chalet Olga (located in SAMOËNS & VALLEY)
650 000 €uros
A spacious 4 bedroom chalet above Samoens.
*The Connexion is an English languange newspaper that is posted to subscribers. For more information go to http://www.connexionfrance.com/index.php