French estate agents negotiated a record number of country house sales in 2020, as city dwellers plagued by Covid-19 restrictions fled cramped apartments in Paris and other cities for the countryside, showed statistics Thursday.
The FNSafer association, in charge of managing the rural real estate market, recorded 111,930 housing purchases by people outside the agricultural community in 2020, up 6.6% in one year.
The deals, which involved homes with at least five hectares of adjoining land, totaled 23.5 billion euros ($ 28.7 billion), an increase of 12.1 percent from to 2019.
FNSafer said the flight to the countryside was motivated by a quest for more space in successive lockdowns as well as a mass switch to remote work, which kept a Paris-based job alive while living an train day or less. the capital.
Another sign that metropolitans are on the move, separate statistics released Thursday showed the Paris real estate market was starting to cool, as the number of transactions for owner-owned homes fell 14% in the first quarter.
Average property prices in the capital, meanwhile, stagnated, increasing only 1.7% to 10,600 euros per square meter between January and March, figures compiled by the association of notaries showed. from Paris.
The real estate market in the rest of France, on the other hand, was booming, with the number of homes previously sold in the country between March 2020 and March 2021 reaching a record 1.08 million.
FNSafer President Emmanuel Hyest predicted that the “reverse exodus” of people to areas of rural France which had hemorrhaged residents in recent decades would be a “lasting” phenomenon.
“This is less of a tsunami and more of a tidal wave. The desire to move should last for several years, ”said Parisian lawyer Thierry Delesalle.
Not everyone encourages the rush for a home in the country or on the coast.
The facades of several real estate agencies and houses with “for sale” signs in the southwest of the Basque Country have been coated with slogans denouncing soaring property prices.
The slogans say “Euskal Herria ez da salgai” – “the Basque Country is not for sale”.
© 2021 AFP