"Everyone knows that the market turned around in the summer," said Charles Marinakis, president of Century 21 France, on Tuesday.
Over the whole of 2022, the average price per square meter has climbed to record levels, according to annual data from this network of agencies. These figures, however, hide a break in the middle of the year, when prices began to fall.
Other professionals observe similar trends. Laforêt notes "an old real estate market in two stages", with strong increases until July and then a calmer market afterwards. Orpi recorded "a slight slowdown in the rise in prices, especially since September, which acts directly on the signing of compromises". And according to Meilleurs Agents, prices per square meter increased by 3,6% between January and June, but only by 1% between July and December.
First cause: the rapid rise in interest rates and French regulations on the usury rate, which have reduced access to credit.
"The engine of the moment that stalls is credit," Thomas Lefebvre, scientific director of Meilleurs Agents, told AFP. There are "repercussions on the real estate market, especially where it is most dependent on credit, so in the big cities".
In several cities, prices, which have become very high, have thus fallen, such as in Paris, Lyon or Bordeaux, where buyers can no longer follow.
"When it's too expensive, it's too expensive!" Summed up Charles Marinakis, who sees this trend continuing in 2023.
Farewell premium to green?
Everyone sees the rush towards individual houses with gardens, which began at the end of confinement in 2020, fade away.
"There is still an outperformance of house prices compared to apartments, but which is tending to decrease", analyzes Thomas Lefebvre.
Laforêt even speaks of a "return to the city", pushed by families, seniors or young workers who have moved too far away from services or employment.
“We had seen the prices of houses in rural areas skyrocket because everyone wanted their garden and their individual house, but there was no reason, such as a TGV station emerging from the ground or an employment area which flowered", judge with AFP the president of Laforêt, Yann Jéhanno.
The rise in energy and fuel prices has also, he says, made families think: a larger house is more expensive to heat and a property far from the city increases dependence on the car.
Century 21 thus predicts that to calculate the means of a household, it will soon be necessary to estimate not only the monthly loan payments, charges and taxes, but also the costs of energy and travel!
But, notes Thomas Lefebvre, "we still have, casually, rural areas which continue to outperform, which is explained by the fact that prices remain relatively affordable in these territories".
He believes that the return to town of families burned by energy costs is not a massive phenomenon, because it is above all low-income households who buy on the outskirts.
A trend that is worsening, at the risk of further widening inequalities.
"If in certain peripheral cities, the price per square meter is continuously rising, it is mainly supported by transactions on larger and often more prestigious types of property", notes Corinne Bérec, vice-president of Orpi.
“We observe the phenomenon very clearly in Île-de-France: while the first and second crowns presented great opportunities for less well-off households, there will soon be no more goods meeting the needs of the greatest number”, fears -she.