The Ariège records the largest house price increase in France so far in 2010

The Association of Notaires in France has just released the latest report into the state of the French housing market. The figures seem to confirm the resurgence in property sales reported by the FNAIM (French estate agents association) earlier this month.

They report a significant increase in sales to between 700,000 and 750,000 for 2010, compared to 2009 when sales were below 600,000.

House Sales in France 2001/10

Source: Insee

Much of this increase in sales is likely to be down to the current historically low interest rates in France which now average around 3% (although it is possible to find even lower.) This has meant a reduction in average monthly mortgage payments of around 12.5%.

As far as house prices are concerned, the Ariège region, which has historically had a very stable (and incredibly good value) property market, has recorded one of the largest increases in property prices during the year:

‘…. in some departments, such as Creuse, Haut Loire and Ariège, house prices have risen on average by over 15%.’

This is borne out by my local agents in Saint Girons who say that, after a very quiet market in 2009, buyers are back and property has started to move again with a corresponding increase in prices. Not quite a property rush but things are looking up and this is actually great news for buyers and sellers alike as some interesting properties are now appearing on the market, especially old farms with outbuildings or village houses, both of which are generally high on the property wish list of people looking for homes in this area.

So why are sales and prices increasing here in the Ariège? Well I can only put it down to the fact that house buyers coming to France are now much more conscious of getting value for money, which is why they are being drawn to this region. Buyers are daring to cast their nets wider (as the map below illustrates) and have discovered what amazing value the houses are in the Ariège. Which just goes to show that yesterday’s backwater is tomorrow’s hotspot and, while property here is still very affordable, it will not always necessarily remain so.

The following map shows the average percentage change in prices within each department up to June 2010.

House Prices 2009/10

Source: Notaires de France

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