Buy or rent debate, checking sales data: Five French property updates

Buying a property in France alone is more profitable than renting after almost 14 years, a new study shows

It now takes an average of 13 years and eight months before buying property in France becomes more financially profitable than renting, an increase of eight years from 2021, according to an annual study by real estate broker Meilleurtaux.com.

The study, called ‘buy or rent’, looks at the number of months or years of property ownership needed to make buying a primary residence cheaper than renting.

It is based on a property with an average area of ​​70 square meters and studies the market in 32 of the largest cities in France.

Regarding the purchase of a property, the study takes into account: the price per square meter, the property tax, other costs such as notary fees and the average charges per square meter per month, which can be invoices, payments mortgage, insurance, etc.

For rent, consider: The rental price and the return on investment that would have been spent on the initial payment of a property in the event of purchase.

The study is unpleasant reading for people considering buying property this year. The average period before buying became profitable in 2021 was five years and eight months, and in 2020 it was only three years and four months.

Maël Bernier, a spokesman for Meilleurtaux, said that since March this year many buyers have given up trying to buy properties.

“More and more applications that no longer meet the criteria for funding are being rejected. [by banks]”, he said in a statement about the study.

She said the main problem blocking potential buyers is the usura tax.

the usura tax It is the maximum rate at which a loan can be granted and is set quarterly by the Banque de France as a percentage. Many critics have said that it is too low, leading to around 45% of mortgage applications being rejected today.

Read more about this in our previous Summary of properties here.

Ms. Bernier also said that property prices continue to rise across the board in France, while rental prices remain relatively stable.

There are disparities between the different cities in France.

Nîmes (Gard), for example, recorded the smallest increase in the period of time in which buying a property is more profitable than renting. It went from one year and four months in 2021 to two years and eight months in 2022.

At the other end of the spectrum is Angers (Maine-et-Loire). The study found that it now takes 28 years before buying property in the city becomes more profitable than renting, the same length of time as in Paris.

This is more than nine years and six months in 2021 and just two years and five months in 2020.

“Purchase prices in Angers have literally skyrocketed,” said Ms. Bernier.

“In a few words, in 2021 the price per square meter in this city was €3,073, a year later it has risen by more than €400 to €3,478/m2.

“He is a victim of his own success. Like many of its western neighbors, this is what has driven property prices up: a frenzy to buy versus rents that have been relatively flat.”

Find out how much properties in your area sold for in the last five years

You can find out how much properties in your area have sold for in the last five years by looking up your valeur fonciere on the DVF website.

Credit: Screenshot / DVF

Choose your department and then contact and click on a local area and you will see properties that sold between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2021 highlighted in light blue.

For example, this 260-square-meter house in Blaye (Gironde) -highlighted in pink- sold for €400,000 in August 2021.

Credit: Screenshot / DVF

Using this tool, Le Figaro was able to find out that a stunning property, the Château de Boutemont in Calvados, Normandy, sold for €2.3 million in 2020 after initially being put on the market for €8 million in 2014.

Can I eat fruit from my neighbor’s tree if it stands out in my garden?

French law distinguishes between picking the fruit directly from the tree and picking those that have fallen to the ground.

Article 673 of the Civil Code states that if a neighbor’s tree that protrudes from your property produces fruit, you become the legal owner of these fruits if they fall to the ground on your property. You can’t pick them from the tree without your neighbor’s permission.

Neither can you shake the tree or cause the fruits to fall, they must fall naturally.

Illegally taking fruit from a neighbor’s tree is technically considered theft in France, with a possible three-year prison sentence and a fine of up to 45,000 euros. However, it is highly unlikely that a case would lead to such an extreme punishment.

Another quirk of the law is that if you and your neighbor share ownership of the tree, then the fruits must be divided equally between you.

It is up to you and your neighbor to determine how this is handled.

In most cases, of course, people probably won’t have a problem with you picking some fruit off their trees if you ask nicely.

Read more: Can I force my neighbor to prune the trees that overhang my garden in France?

The price of established properties continues to rise

The price of non-newly built properties (flats and houses) continued to rise in the second quarter of 2022, data from Notaires de France and the French national statistics office Insee show.

However, prices increased somewhat less than in previous quarters, with a rise of 6.8% year-on-year.

This rise was 7.3% in the first quarter of 2022.

This slowdown was predicted by Notaires de France in a report released earlier this year that charted real estate trends and cited rising inflation as the main reason for potential buyers to stop investing in property.

Read more: ‘Slowdown ahead’: Five French real estate trends according to the latest notarial data

Read more: MAP: The increase in house prices in France continues. How is your area doing?

Non-new construction property – call old accommodation in French, it is defined as a property that was built more than five years ago or has changed ownership.

Thierry Delesalle, chairman of the Notaires du Grand Paris statistics commission, said that despite the slowdown, the “figures are still good.”

He said he expected “a number of exceptional quarters to be followed by quarters that may not be exceptional but are dynamic.”

House prices have been rising in France, particularly outside of Paris, due to an increase in work-from-home practices and people looking for more space after the pandemic.

2021 was a record year for the market in terms of sales, after a stunted 2020, when sales fell due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That created pent-up demand and also caused many projects to be delayed, adding to last year’s large number of sales.

Thomas Lefebvre, scientific director of property comparison firm Meilleurs Agents, said the trend of people leaving big cities for midsize cities continues. This is causing these medium-sized cities to grow faster than larger cities like Paris, Marseille, etc.

“We are on the cusp of a change. The market is holding its breath,” she said.

Pots and hanging baskets on balconies

There is no specific national law that prohibits decorating the balcony of an apartment you rent or own with flower pots, hanging baskets or other garden decorations.

However, there are occasionally local laws.

The main one is the prohibition of hanging baskets or flower pots on the outside of the railing (hanging over the street). This is for security reasons.

Also, some buildings will have a specific rule that prohibits this.

To find out if this is the case, you should check with your trustee or landlord, or check with your local mairie.

Read more: French property trustees: What can I do if mine stops responding?

Otherwise, to be absolutely safe, avoid hanging pots or plants on the street and this way you will almost definitely be complying with any rules.

Also, it’s a good tip to secure your plants or pots to something to prevent them from blowing over or falling over.

You, the owner of the flat or the tenant, whoever lives in the property, is responsible for any damage or injury caused by an object from your balcony onto the street.

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