French property prices continue to rise and property-market activity remains dynamic. Since these trends show every sign of continuing, now is as good a time as ever to buy property in France!


The current steady, upward trend in prices, includes both new and existing property:

Existing property

Existing Property

Prices for all types of existing property went up by an average of over 10% in 2006. The biggest rises were in the West and South-West. In the North, the East, the Centre and the Alps, increases were close to the national average. Ile de France showed an average increase of over 5%, with a new leap in prices in some suburban towns around Paris.

The rate of increase for existing flats accelerated, in 2006, in Brittany, Champagne-Ardennes, the Centre and Lorraine. For existing houses, the upward trend was particularly noticeable in the Auvergne, Loire, Upper Normandy and Lorraine regions.

In fact, there is an overall trend towards “homogenisation” of existing-property prices, in France, due to a shift in demand towards more affordable areas and a narrowing of the difference between new-property and existing-property values.

New property

New property

New-property prices rose generally last year. Increases were obviously greater in regions with a shortage of properties for sale, such as Ile de France and the South-East.


Activity is growing in the existing-property sector and remains sustained in new property.

Existing property

Existing Property

In 2006, there was an overall increase in market activity for both houses and flats, across the regions. The number of sales increased by 7% in the West and South-West and around 6% in the South-East, North and East. The level of activity in Ile de France, however, dropped.

New property

New property

Sales of new properties continue to increase.

Its hard to think of a single European country that offers the sheer breadth of climatic variety, scenic contrast and cultural richness that can be found in France.

Practically whatever you might be looking for can be found there. We have taken a snapshot of each region, to give you a flavour of the treasures in store...

Given a little guidance, buying a French property is easy – and not that different from buying in any other country. Here’s a basic “how to”:

1. First fix your budget

How much are you willing and able to pay? Get 100% clear about this from the start. You'll soon discover if you can buy a chateau or a cagibi (broom cupboard) in your chosen area!

2. How much can I borrow?

How much you can borrow depends on what you'd like to reimburse every month. Monthly repayments should not exceed 25-33% of your income.

3. Find that dream property

You can find your dream house through private classified ads in newspapers or on the Internet, etc., or from ads published by estate agents, notaires or property developers. Examine properties you visit carefully – and take notes as you go along, so you don't forget.

4. Negotiate the price

Negotiating the price is part of the game, so play your cards right! Put yourself in a strong position by noting negative aspects of the property and points that need attention.

5. Eureka! You decide to buy!

You’ve found the ideal place? Great! Now you must “reserve” it, by signing a compromis de vente (provisional sales agreement) – or a contrat de réservation (reservation agreement) if you’re buying new property. This is a crunch moment, because you are legally and financially committed, with limited possibilities for backing out!

6. Request a loan

Go to the “Contact us” page to see how to contact Crédit Foncier (by phone, Internet or visit to a local branch office) to request a loan. You’ll even find a simple loan-simulation request form you can fill in directly, online.

7. Completion

The deed of conveyance is drawn up by a notaire – a legal professional who ensures that all the legal niceties are observed. He’ll give a copy of the deed of conveyance to both signatories. Completion may take up to 2 to 3 months from the signing of the provisional agreement.

8. Conveyancing fees

As well as reimbursing the notaire for bills he’s settled on your behalf, you’ll have to pay a taxe de mutation (transfer tax) of approximately 5% of the selling price, and various other taxes (property registration, stamp duty, VAT on new construction). These can amount to between 6% and 8% of the selling price and around 4% for a new property (plus VAT at 19.6%).

  New or old property New construction
Estate agency fees Between 4% and 8%
of the purchase price
Between 8% and 10%
of the purchase price of the land
Notaire fees Property category:
  • New: about 4% of the purchase price
  • Old: about 6.50% of the purchase price
For the purchase of land:
about 4% of the purchase price
VAT For a property under 5 years old:
VAT at 19.6%
(included in the purchase price
announced by the property developer)
For land of:
  • < 2,500 m²:  a rate of 4.80%
  • > 2,500 m²:  a rate of 4.60% for the first 2,500m². For any more, registration rights (at 16.985%) and regional tax
Specific costs For a joint-ownership property:
  • Share of the working-capital fund of jointly-owned property
  • Shared maintenance charges
  • Works voted by the joint owners, dating from the day of signing of the “agreement to sell”.
  • Local facilities tax
  • Cost of works
  • Revision of the construction price (if provided for in the contract)>Insurance
Local taxes
  • Property tax (2-year exemption possible for new accommodation and a newly constructed house)
  • Council tax
  • Assimilated taxes (domestic refuse collection taxes, special facilities tax in certain départements)
Loan fees
  • Administrative charges
  • Obligatory insurance charges
  • Mortgage charges

9. Insuring your new property

As a property owner, you are responsible for any injuries or damage your property may cause to a third party (a tile falling on a passer-by, water damage, etc.) or capital loss. You must take out a comprehensive homeowner’s insurance.

10. Group acquisition

If you and some friends or family members want to buy a holiday home jointly, a good move is to do this by setting up a société civile immobilière (SCI) – a non-trading property-investment company. A notaire or an estate agent can advise you about this solution. N.B. The suitability of this buying approach depends on the tax laws in force in your country.

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