Purse strings loosen 2014

Twice as many people are now looking to buy property over €400,000, and the average age of the buyer is going up with the price.

According to the bi-annual survey Enquete Habitat carried out, the buyer of a property in Nice has become more mature and more affluent. The number of buyers over 40 years old has increased from half (47.3%) to six in ten (57.9%) since 2009. Also the number of retired buyers has doubled from 7.2% to 14.3%.

As well as the increase in age, the number of people looking to buy over €400,000 almost doubled from 13.9% to 25%. The number of people looking to buy properties over €250,000 has risen from 36.7% to 50%.

Buyers are also now more affluent with over one third (35.1%) paying over half the value of their property in cash, as opposed to a quarter (23%) back in 2009. Three quarters are still looking to obtain some kind of mortgage.

The number of first time buyers has halved from two thirds (68%) in 2011 to just one third (33%) now, linked strongly of course to stricter lending rules by banks.

Source: survey of 6,045 active buyers by web site “Particuliers A Particuliers”

What does this mean? The more mature buyer tends to be more cautious, and the large drop in volume of transaction since 2009 indicates many people have been holding off buying until they are sure the market has bottomed out and is ready to rise again. The return of the home buyer, as opposed to the investor, suggest returning confidence in the property market.

Over the past year the under €250,000 market has been hot, with property developers selling out faster than they can get their hands on new products. The trend has been to buy a 70sqm apartment and turn it into two 30sqm apartments sold at an average price of €200,000. We have noticed a few developers starting to buck this trend and renovate larger apartments, suggesting the market is indeed moving this way. We are hoping this will lead to a better choice of apartments for a clients looking in the mid-range starting from the middle of 2014.