Foreign buyers are returning to France's prime property market, according to agents.
"Since the financial and economic crash of 2008, it has been widely reported that the luxury French property market has never quite recovered, with prices largely remaining lower than those of 2007," comments Sextant French Property Network.
"Hollande's proposed increased wealth taxes, the collapse of the rouble and the falling Euro were among the factors contributing to this state of affairs."
Since late 2013, though, the estate agency says that there are signs international buyers are gaining confidence once again.
The sub â¬1.5 million price bracket, in particular, is particularly appealing this year, which Sextant attributes to sellers becoming more realistic in their pricing. Owners are more likely to negotiate prices, meaning that buyers are able to knock up to 15 per cent off a home's asking price.
Two recent examples include a 19th century chÃ¢teau in the Paris region, listed at â¬1.495 million, which Sextant eventually sold for â¬1.4 million, a saving of 6.3 per cent. Another chÃ¢teau on the company's books, listed at â¬1.49 million, recently sold for â¬1.25 million, an effective negotiation of 16.1 per cent.
As a result, buyers are increasingly encouraged to search for property in Paris, the Alps and the ever popular CÃ´te d'Azur. Indeed, requests from specialised sites Lux Residence and Belles Demeures, on which only registered agencies can advertise, have increased four-fold.
"France is still largely regarded as a safe place to invest in property and with some very negotiable prices around, many buyers are taking advantage of the opportunity to benefit from the superb climate, al fresco lifestyle and excellent quality of living which may not be available or as affordable within their home market," adds the agency.
The comments arise as French mortgage rates begin to climb again, after three years of record lows. At the start of 2015, foreign demand was boosted, as the rates made French real estate increasingly attractive. Since 10-year government bond rates doubled in May 2015, though, 15 national and regional banks have raised their lending rates. The increase has prompted broker French Private Finance to urge buyers to house-hunt quickly to secure affordable rates.
"This is an exciting time for the prime French property market," says Sextant/ "In the coming year, we expect even further confidence among international buyers, to be cemented by more purchases, and greater price stabilisation."
Cap Ferrat, on the Riviera Photo: Chris230