Real estate: the big comeback to small towns

By Yan Gauchard, Claire Mayer, Isabelle Rey-Lefebvre, Richard Schittly, Audrey Sommazi and Gilles Rof

Posted today at 03:57, updated at 09:40

Is the gentrification of small and medium-sized towns in France underway? Poll after poll, the French are in favor of these communities on a human scale – less than 20,000 inhabitants – in which we are as close to shops as they are to nature.

“We all have within us a few medium-sized towns, associated with childhood, with vacations or with photos of [Raymond] Depardon “, summarized the consultant in territorial strategies Nicolas Rio, in his comment on a survey of La Fabrique de la Cité, carried out at the end of 2020. This showed that 90% of the people questioned would like to live in a small or medium-sized town, that 84% preferred the house to the apartment and that 75% would not like to live in the Paris region, assimilated to a foil.

The same conclusion emerges from a survey by the FIFG which, from May 27 to June 3, 2021, surveyed 1,800 French people at the request of the Banque des Territoires and the Agence nationale de la cohesion des Territoires: 86% of them consider that residing in a medium-sized city is preferable, that is to say three points more than in 2020, at the exit of the first confinement.

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Figures from Notaries-Insee for the second quarter of 2021, published Thursday, September 9, point in the same direction: prices, up 5.9% on average across France, are driven by houses rather than apartments, by the province rather than by Ile-de-France, and in particular by rural areas and towns with less than 10,000 inhabitants.

After months of confinement in more or less cramped apartments, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for houses with outdoor space has soared. The development of teleworking, the ease of access to certain metropolises thanks to the TGV, the arrival of Parisians selling their apartments at high prices to settle in the provinces are fueling the rise in prices in metropolitan areas.

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So much so that city-dwellers have difficulty finding accommodation there and are referred to neighboring municipalities. By a domino effect, goods are torn away and the square meter increases, which creates tensions with the locals who see the arrival of a new population and find themselves confronted with an increase in the cost of housing.

  • In Marseille, “when you arrive, you tell yourself that nothing is expensive”

“Today, in Marseille, the real estate market is doing more than well. “ In this return, the president of the chamber of notaries of Bouches-du-Rhône, Gisèle Laveissière, displays a relief tinged with astonishment. According to the figures stopped at June 30, the volume of deeds of sale of housing, new and old combined, over twelve rolling months, increased by 13% in the department, compared to 2019. And the projections for the end of the year are promising. Prices are climbing in unison.

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