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A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Buying Property in France

Louise Villalobos

ByLouise Villalobos

Nov 4, 2023

If you are looking to buy property in France, then this article is for you. There are several factors you need to consider when purchasing a house or studio apartment in this French-speaking country. Some include the location of the property, the costs of buying it, and mortgages. Read on to learn more about France’s real estate market.

Homeownership in France

As of April 2023, the percentage of people owning houses in France was 65%, with most preferring mortgages to finance their house purchases. Low-income earners tend to buy homes in small towns and rural areas, where property prices are considerably lower than in major cities.

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Should You Rent or Buy Property in France?

If it’s your first time in France, it is advisable to consider renting before purchasing. This allows you to have enough time to explore the French real estate market and understand the property buying process. Note that it may take up to three months to complete a house purchase.

Can Foreigners Purchase Property in France?

Foreigners own about 6% of the entire property in France, with British and Belgians accounting for 45% and 20% of those purchases, respectively. That said, it is possible for foreigners to acquire property in France. However, securing a mortgage depends on various factors, such as your earnings, country of origin, and marital status.

EU and non-EU Citizens

If you are from a European Union country, you will find buying property in France to be a simple process, as there are no restrictions. However, acquiring a house as a non-EU citizen can be a bit complicated, especially when financing the purchase with a mortgage. That’s because the banks will require you to demonstrate your intent to stay in France when servicing your loan. You can do it by securing a long-term residence permit or marrying a French citizen. If you obtain a residence permit of four years or more, there is a huge chance of securing a mortgage.

The French Real Estate Market

After COVID-19, house prices in France grew by 9% while apartment prices surged 5%. The AFN (Association of French Notaries) has projected that in 2024, apartment and house prices will grow by 5% and 10%, respectively. Overall, property prices in France are considered among the highest within the EU region.

Buying Property in Paris

Property prices in Paris are relatively high. As of November 2023, the average property price in France’s capital city is €11,000 per square meter. Notably, there are more apartments available for sale than houses in Paris.

Buying Property in Nice

About 45% of Nice residents live in their own homes, most of which are apartments. The average apartment price is €4,500 per square meter.

Buying Property in Marseille

Marseille has a homeownership rate of 44%. 87% of the residents with their own homes live in apartments, while 13% in houses. It will cost you roughly €380,000 to buy a house in Marseille, while the average apartment price is €9,000 per square meter.

Buying Property in Bordeaux

Improved transport infrastructure in Bordeaux has caused property prices in Bordeaux to skyrocket. Expect an average price of €5,500 per square meter for an apartment and €4,400 per square meter for a house. In terms of homeownership rate, 35% of Bordeaux residents live in their own houses.

Buying Property in Lyon

Apartments in Lyon go for roughly €5,000 per square meter, while the average house price is €430,000. The city’s homeownership rate is 34%, with many residents opting for apartments rather than houses.

Process of Purchasing Property in France

As a foreigner, it is important you find a real estate agent to take you through the property-buying process in France. They will help identify your ideal house or apartment and negotiate with the property owner on your behalf. Once the agreement is reached, hire a lawyer to help you interpret the purchase contract before signing it. This professional will also send the contract to a deed office so that a new title deed can be processed.

When signing the contract, you will be required to make a deposit, usually 15%-20% of the property value. After the deed office generates a new title deed, you are expected to complete your payment to receive the keys to your new home. And that’s how you become a homeowner in France.

Louise Villalobos

Louise Villalobos

Louise Villalobos is an adept writer, renowned for her compelling articles that illuminate and engage. Her prowess in breaking down intricate subjects provides readers with clarity and nuance. With a vast and varied portfolio, Louise has solidified her standing as a distinguished voice in contemporary journalism.