France’s new build sector finds positive form

France’s new build sector has found positive form this year, with construction and sales both on the up.

New figures from the Ministry of Environment show that the number of new-build homes rose 18.7 per cent in June 2016 compared to June 2015, the highest result in nine years.

Over 33,000 new units were sold in Q2 2016, while the number of homes for sale has also risen by 24.2 per cent to 35,900 units, the highest result since 2007. Apartments enjoyed an 18.1 per cent rise in sales, while detached homes saw sales climb 26.8 per cent, although the stock of homes remained unchanged at 92,600.

The positive form is confirmed by new datat from Eurostat, which show that construction output in France has seen signs of growth in the first half of 2016: while output dipped 0.1 per cent in Q2 2016 and fell 0.2 per cent in June, it rose 0.6 per cent and 2.6 per cent in May and April respectively, indicating an uneven, but gradual return to positive territory. Overall, construction in France grew in three of the first six months of 2016.

The figures are against a backdrop of construction falling slightly in Europe: construction dropped 0.6 per cent year-on-year across the 28 countries of the EU, although it rose by the same amount in the Euro area – bolstered by civil engineering construction.

The highest monthly increase in construction among EU member states was recorded in Hungary (7.6 per cent), followed by Slovenia (2.3 per cent) and Slovakia (1.7 per cent). The largest decrease was found in the Czech Republic (down 3.9 per cent), Poland (3.7 per cent) and Bulgaria (1.6 per cent).

“This will no doubt continue the creeping trend of rising house prices, a relatively new thing for the French property,” forecasts French Private Finance. “Selling prices, meanwhile, have changed little over the year, up 0.3 per cent to an average of €3,930 per square metre.”

Optimism appears to be spreading in France this year, with French property rising one place to become the seventh most popular destination on in August 2016.