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Is it now or never to buy real estate?
While most agree that the French property market’s recovery will continue well into 2017, myriad uncertainties are leading some to conclude that now is the best time to buy.
Elections, interest rates, market conditions. The first quarter of this year has seen the three combine to blow all expectations for price growth out of the water. The most up-to-date price statistics from observatories have recorded between and in the last 12 months in the capital, with 3% price growth in the first quarter alone.
A combination of rates rising slower than anticipated and sellers waiting out the election before making a decision has led to the awesome figures. A Marine Le Pen victory, unlikely as it might be – though we’ve heard that before – would lead to a jump in mortgage rates just as Trump’s election in November did. Investors get scared, buy fewer French bonds and the cost filters down to the borrower.
A Macron win would undoubtedly calm jitters, as he is a pro-market internationalist. However, the legislative elections in summer could still see a strong Eurosceptic, anti-market presence in the Senate, given that 46% of French voters chose Marine Le Pen in last Sunday’s first round.
The real estate buyer assistance plans are also not guaranteed by the next government. These include reduced tax liability on rental income for new-build buy-to-let investment (Pinel) and interest-free loans for energy renovation. Le Pen will repeal the former, and both have promised modifications of the rest. These programs are mandated to run the rest of the year.
Rates will continue to rise anyway, as is the trend. They had the first negative effect on activity for a while , with the number of transactions falling month-over-month for the first time in more than a year. Regardless, experts are that the year will not see the year-on-year falls in transactions that previous election years have delivered. But nonetheless, the best time to buy might be now, while rates remain low, buyer help remains in place and the market remains strong.