Post lockdown surge in the French Riviera property market

During lockdown (or ‘confinement’ as it is known here in France) we were not hibernating. We were hard at work, training, developing new IT skills, communicating with our clients, expanding our social media, and we even made a good few sales while locked down, by promoting video tour visits for our clients.

Since ‘confinement’ started to ease on May 11th, we have had more enquiries, and more actual and virtual visits than we ever could have anticipated (and we’re “positive mindset” people!)

So, what exactly are we seeing in the post lockdown property market on the French Riviera?

1.) Buyer Trends

Ambition – There was real ambition among buyers, to get back into the market. They had not forgotten about their plans and their dreams. If anything, the confinement period gave people time to think deeply about their next step, and dedicate time to their search; so when they came out of confinement, they were ready and active.

School Year – We are on the brink of summer, and schools will open again in the autumn; thus, for those buyers wanting to make a move to the sunny South, quick decisions and a quick conclusion are vital and fuelling an active energy in the marketplace.

Convenience – Added to this, there is a marked increase in French and wealthy European buyers. The idea of buying a holiday home in Mauritius, Martinique or the Seychelles has become less attractive with the probability of future restricted travel, so, as it’s easy to get to and loved already, the French Riviera is experiencing a boost in French and European buyers.

Fresh air and space – The countryside or the back-country (known as the “arrière-pays”) have also become more popular, with some buyers choosing to focus on properties with land, gardens, views. Specifically for those living in bigger cities and apartments, the shock of confinement has brought into focus the freedom and beauty that is possible in a property with more space, which the inland areas and countryside offer in abundance. It looks like the start of a trend.

2.) Seller Trends

Listings – New properties are coming onto the market. This isn’t because there is a flood of “desperate sellers”, it’s because there is a two month backlog of sellers who would have put their property on the market during the lost months, for normal, everyday reasons; and in our region, those months normally represent a prime time for properties to come to market (i.e. just before the summer). With two months of backlog, it is therefore expected that there would be a “flood” of new properties for sale – and in general, these properties are being listed at fair, market related prices.

3.) Banks

Lending – Credit is going to be harder to obtain as banks tighten their belts. The signs are that the days of easy credit are over for a while; so, although interest rates remain low, the bank loan process and criteria will become stricter.

Bricks and mortar are as popular as ever, and interestingly there seems to be an almost equal drive from both motivated sellers and motivated buyers, creating a strong and active marketplace. So, although we do not anticipate a rise in property prices just yet, we do anticipate good transaction numbers, specifically through the summer and well into the autumn.

Of course, what will happen in the longer run and as winter comes back to Europe is anyone’s guess; but for now, we’re feeling good and feeling positive.

In the famous words of Mark Twain, “Buy land, they’re not making any more of it”.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova

* With over 18 years of experience, we offer an in house turn-key property solution on the French Riviera and in Provence, including a full buyers search service, accompaniment through the entire purchase process, property management after purchase, and rentals. Additionally, we have established trusted partnerships with English speaking mortgage brokers, currency experts, lawyers, financial advisors, banks and more. We would be delighted to introduce you to any of them, to help facilitate your property purchase in the South of France, if you need them.

We look after your property investment on the Cote d’Azur, as if it were our own, and if you want to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, this is what Mark H. had to say: “The best real estate agency in France! Whatever your needs related to property, this is the service you want”. (January 2020)

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