Predictions for the 2024 French property market from French Property News Editor Karen Tait

Predictions for the 2024 French property market from French Property News Editor Karen Tait

French Property News magazine Editor Karen Tait is here to share her predictions for the French property market this year. Come to the French Property Exhibition this weekend to meet the experts: FREE TICKETS 

1. Visa-free travel for holiday-home owners will stay in the news

2024 started well for Brits seeking a property in France or who already own a holiday home there as the French Senate granted the right for British owners to spend up to six months at their French property visa-free. This was reported widely in the news as a fait accompli, however, there was one more hurdle to jump, as the law needed to be rubber-stamped by the Conseil Constitutionnel. Unfortunately, for British owners of property in France, the Conseil rejected the law on 25 January. On a positive note, this was due to a technicality (that the bill amendment was contrary to the original aims of the bill) rather than the idea or content being rejected.

For now, the ‘90/180 day rule’ remains in place, limiting visits to the EU to 90 days in 180. However, Senator Berthet, who originally proposed the law, says she is encouraged by the fact it was passed by both houses of parliament, and she will be pressing for a new law.

While the rule doesn’t affect anyone simply wanting to enjoy a few weeks’ summer holiday plus weekends and the odd week through the rest of the year, it is trickier to navigate for those wanting to split their time more evenly between the UK and France, particularly second-home owners, who will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the news surrounding this topic.

€152,600, Charente, Nouvelle Aquitaine: A delightful three-bedroom stone house with attached barn set in private gardens close to the town of Rochechouart (Leggett Immobilier, Stand 27)

2. Demand for town-and-country 

Following the Covid pandemic, the exodus from cities to the countryside has been much documented, leading to a shortage of supply of country homes in many parts of France over the past few years. While splendid isolation was, well, splendid for a while, many homeowners are starting to appreciate having facilities, amenities and activities on their doorstep. While télétravail, or working from home, is still definitely a thing, there’s been a call back to the office for many and a creeping rise in presenteeism once more. For the domestic market, this may mean a rise in demand for town and city properties.  

For overseas buyers seeking a holiday home, a change in lifestyle or retiring to France, the tranquillity and traditional way of life in the countryside will still be a strong draw. But I also think we’ll see an increase in people looking for a property with access to both the countryside and the attractions of a lively town or village… a search for a property that combines the best of town and country. A home with country views but on the outskirts of a market town, for example. Not always an easy task to find, as estate agents will remind us – and no doubt cite the long-lamented buyer demand for ‘no near neighbours but a short walk to a boulangerie’! 

€315,000, Lot, Occitanie: Beautiful stone character house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, barn and swimming pool, in a village close to Gourdon and tourist attractions (Beaux Villages, Stand 35)

Beaux Villages Immobilier

3. Cooler climes  

Mad dogs and Englishmen… we Brits are known for our love of sunshine. We spend all year planning and waiting for our holidays in the sun, and we dream of owning a holiday home there too. However, while the south and southwest of France have long been desirable areas for second homes and relocations, the heatwaves and floods of recent years have made some people think twice. The result has been a growth in demand for northern France, for Brittany and Normandy, where the climate is similar to the south of England. With climate change rising ever higher in the news headlines, the interest in northern France is only likely to become stronger.  

€83,000, Côtes-d’Armor, Brittany: Quirky and charming semi-detached two-bed cottage with garden on the edge of an active village with a beautiful lake nearby (Agence Newton, Stand 41)

4. Affordable homes – and lifestyles 

Everyone is feeling the pinch nowadays, with rising prices across the board, so people are looking for more affordable homes and ways to achieve the lifestyles they dream of. For those lucky enough to be looking for a holiday home in France, areas where their pound will stretch further will have increasing appeal. Tight budgets will lead to compromises – a smaller house, less land, further inland, an area they haven’t considered before. The dream is still achievable, just with a few tweaks.  

€299,250, Orne, Normandy: Restored four-bedroom detached character property with heated pool and enclosed grounds (ASI Immobilier, Stand 17)

5. More sustainable homes 

Affordability is one of the attractions of an eco-friendly home, especially in the face of increasing energy costs – along with, of course, a desire to decrease your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable world. Where once this was the domain of a certain sector of property hunters, it’s now on most people’s wishlists. They may not be seeking a full-on Passivhaus but buyers will be asking more about the energy-efficiency of French properties. With the DPE energy certificate being part of France’s obligatory diagnostic reports nowadays, it’s not something sellers can ignore either.  

€1,149,000, Charente-Maritime, Nouvelle-Aquitaine: Five-bedroom home with large pool and garden in La Rochelle; cathedral ceiling in the living room and spacious master suite (Coldwell Banker L’Immobilière Internationale, Stand 49)

€380,000, Charente-Maritime, Nouvelle-Aquitaine: Charming four-bedroom house in Dompierre-sur-Charente between Saintes and Cognac (Coldwell Banker L’Immobilière Internationale, Stand 49)

6. Cash is still king 

The last couple of years have been good for cash buyers – not so much if you’ve needed a mortgage. During 2023, the French mortgage market tightened significantly, partly due to rising interest rates. Subsequently, many buyers, domestic and international, put their plans on hold, and the property market constricted.  

In 2024, cash buyers will undoubtedly benefit from a depressed French housing market, being in a much stronger position to negotiate a reduced purchase price and facing less competition from buyers needing finance. All of this, of course, is not great news for vendors, who may struggle to sell their property and should almost certainly expect their homes to spend longer on the market than in recent years. 

The good news if you do need a mortgage is that interest rates are predicted to stabilise between 4-5% in 2024 and fall to below 2.5% by 2025.  

Inflation is also expected to continue its downward trend, from around 4.5% in the last quarter of 2023 to around 2% in 2025, according to the Banque de France. 

€162,000, Lot-et-Garonne, Nouvelle Aquitaine: Two-bedroom house in the historic village of Lauzun, 30 minutes from Bergerac and its airport (Richard Immobilier, Stand 45)

7. Will prices continue to fall? 

After almost five years of unprecedented levels of growth in the French property market, 2023 was a very different beast. Rising interest, inflation and a tightening supply of homes all led to the volume of property sales decreasing in 2023 for the first time since 2015. The Notaires de France reported a fall in property transactions to 850,000-890,000, from over 1.13 million in 2022. 

In 2024 house prices are generally expected to fall, with property website Meilleurs Agents predicting an average 4% drop. This will clearly vary from area to area, with the capital and other large cities, where property has been the most expensive, expected to experience the biggest price drops.  

So 2024 could be the year you find a bargain property! That said, well-priced properties in sought-after areas will always sell well, and they will still have a market in 2024.  

€250,000, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Nouvelle Aquitaine: Charming 18th-century farmhouse with three bedrooms, adjoining barns, courtyard, horse boxes and nearly 1ha land (Sophie Folley Immobilier, Stand 61)

Looking for more like this?

Every issue of French Property News delivers in-depth regional buying guides, sound and trusted advice from leading experts, inspirational real life stories, renovation tales and lots of lovely properties to browse.

Lead photo credit : Aerial view of a medieval town in Dordogne, France

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