The Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, comprised of the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône, Var, Alpes-Maritimes, Vaucluse, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Hautes-Alpes, is the target of many buyers, both French and international.
But when we talk about “Provence”, most tourists and foreigners actually think of the golden triangle of the Luberon, which became famous following the success of the book by Peter Mayle, a British novelist who wrote “A Year in Provence”.
To understand the Provence real estate market, it is therefore interesting to take into consideration the Luberon, but also the hotspots of Provence, such as Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Arles.
Marseille, wide disparities depending on the neighbourhoods
Marseille has an international reach with its airport serving more than 30 countries. Easy to access, attractive and dynamic, France’s second largest city (in terms of population) is constantly evolving, particularly in terms of real estate. The ongoing regeneration and pedestrianisation projects in the city centre will impact the hypercentre, which is currently neglected. It should therefore be revalued in terms of real estate in the coming years.
For the time being, according to the latest LPI SeLoger survey of July 2019, the average price is €2,944 per square metre (up 2.6% over twelve months), making Marseille the cheapest of the ten most populated cities in France. This average, which is lower than the average price per square metre in France, is due to house prices in dilapidated and isolated neighbourhoods, which drive prices down. In the third arrondissement (Belle de Mai, Saint-Lazare neighbourhood), the average price is €1,694/m² for example. The same goes for another of the northern neighbourhoods, the 14th arrondissement (Arnavaux, Bon-Secour) with a price of €1,828/m².
From one district to another, there are significant disparities, depending on whether the property is located in the city centre, by the sea or in popular areas. Thus, in the 8th arrondissement, a sought-after neighbourhood, the price per square metre is the highest.
The average price of a property is €332,831. Sale times have decreased in recent months and are now 65 days.
Aix-en-Provence and its surroundings
32 kilometres north of Marseille, Aix-en-Provence. It is the fifth largest French city in which prices are highest with €3,922/m² according to LPI-Seloger behind Nice, Lyon, Bordeaux and Paris.
With 140,000 inhabitants and a flow of arrivals greater than the number of departures, real estate in Aix is flourishing. The city of Cézanne attracts both young executives who work for Eurocopter or Voyage Privé, among others, and retirees who wish to benefit from the region’s mild climate. So many people who represent potential buyers or tenants.
In the city centre, the most sought-after and constantly growing districts are those of Place Miollis, Place des Prêcheurs and Fontaine du Roy René (Cours Mirabeau). In the southern part, the university district, the Campus Mirabeau plan which will end in 2021, should attract a large number of students and therefore increase the prices of small surface areas.
The neighbouring municipalities (Eguilles, Puyricard, Le Tholonet, etc.) in which there are many Provençal mas and bastides, also benefit from this dynamic. Villas on the outskirts of Aix-en-Provence cost between €700,000 and €900,000 in a stretched market.
Luberon and Alpes de Haute Provence, paradise at a price
On the other side of Aix-en-Provence, Luberon attracts international buyers and celebrities looking for a high-end pied-à-terre.
Digne-les-Bains, Gordes, Lourmarin or Forcalquier…so many small towns in which the bastides and mas attract both non-resident and retired buyers with their authenticity.
Avignon, real estate prices up sharply
Real estate prices in the Vaucluse prefecture have increased by 11.4% over the past twelve months, according to the LPI-Seloger survey of August 2019. It is one of the cheapest cities in Provence real estate market with €2,614/m².
On the rental side, between students and the Avignon Festival, the short-term and long-term rental market is doing well. The most popular area is the one located to the west of rue de la République.
This city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and whose cultural reputation is well known thanks to the Rencontres de la photographie, continues to attract attention. It was even ranked among the 52 most trendy cities in the world by the New York Times in 2018. This attracted the attention of foreign buyers who pushed up prices.
The arrival of Europe’s largest cultural complex, Luma, has already had an impact on the real estate market. Rentals of town houses with top-end amenities are flourishing on seasonal rental platforms. They currently represent between 3 to 4% of the available housing stock. The rest of the time these properties are vacant, which contributes to the shortage of housing in the city centre between the May and September festival period.
Longer-term rentals can be found away from the city centre in the Trinquetaille neighbourhood for example, which is currently being regenerated.
At resale, the price per square metre is about €2,551 for a house according to Meilleurs Agents. It can reach up to €3,000/m² if it is a small surface area or a rare property.
To find out what’s currently happening in the Provence real estate market, go on our review of the French Riviera article