Mapped: Where to invest in French property this year

After a period of stagnation, property prices are rising across France at an increasingly fast rate. With mortgage rates still low, now is a good time to invest, but where should you be buying?

After a period of stagnation, property prices are rising across France at an increasingly fast rate. In Q1 2017, house prices rose 3.1 per cent, according to Eurostar, the fifth quarter of annual price growth in a row and the fourth quarter in a row that growth has accelerated.

According to research by French website Seloger, momentum has continued to build this year, with prices in July rising in more than three-quarters of the major cities. With mortgage rates still near historic lows, 2017 remains a perfect opportunity for overseas buyers to invest, before price growth climbs too high and mortgage rates rebound. In July, France rose into fourth place on TheMoveChannel.com’s Top of the Props index, the third month in a row that it has been in the portal’s top five most popular destinations.

Where, though, should investors be buying?

Seloger’s data highlights the fact that prices are not all rising at the same rate across France, with certain regions and cities performing better than others. We have mapped that data to provide an easy-to-use guide to France’s most profitable investment hotspots.

The places with the highest capital growth in the last year are Le Mans in Pays de la Loire (12.7 per cent), Nimes in Languedoc-Roussillon (10.8 per cent), Tours in Centre (8.8 per cent), Strasbourg in Alsace (8.5 per cent), and Metz in Lorraine (8.4 per cent).

Comparing the data with a year ago, Le Mans emerges as the city with the strongest turnaround, with the 12.7 per cent price rise significantly reversing an annual fall of 4.5 per cent in 2016. Tours is the city with the second best turnaround, with prices up 8.8 per cent after falling 3.5 per cent in the previous year. Besancon in Franche-Comte is third, with prices up 6.2 per cent, after falling 4.9 per cent in the previous year, with the top five completed by Amiens in Picardie (4.6 per cent in 2017, versus -1.4 per cent in 2016) and Rennes in Bretagne (2.9 per cent in 2017, versus -3.9 per cent in 2016).

Rennes is a particular investment hotspot, thanks to the recent launch of the Brittany-Pays de la Loire LGV, which means that the city is now under 90 minutes away from Paris, opening up the market to young professionals and commuters in addition to the area’s traditional student occupiers.

Aquitaine, PACA, Pays de la Loire and Poitou-Charentes are all highlighted by Selonger as seeing double-digit growth in transactions in the last year, with 7 per cent average sales growth in Alsace, Midi-Pyrénées, Languedoc Roussillon and Rhône-Alpes.

Demand for property in Acquitaine is likely to be fuelled by Bordeaux, which recorded one of the highest rates of price growth in 2016, while PACA and Pays de la Loire both saw notable price turnarounds in Toulon (1.2 per cent in 2017 versus -2.8 per cent in 2016) and Le Mans.

Paris remains the country’s most expensive city by quite some margin, with an average value of €9,061 per square metre, although prices nonetheless climbed by 5.2 per cent in 2017. Le Mans, Brest and Nimes are among the most affordable markets enjoying strong capital growth, with prices rising by over 8 per cent in the last year while remaining below an average of €2,100 per square metre.

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