This Paris Life

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Beyond Avignon’s medieval ramparts, real estate is flourishing

In Avignon’s city center prices remain stable while sales volumes experience continued decline. However, the opposite is true in the periphery where falling prices attract more buyers.

Avignon’s real estate market’s performance is evolving at two contrasting speeds. On the one hand, the city center sees prices remain stable yet transactions slowly decline. Beyond the medieval walls and in the city’s near suburbs however, falling prices are leading to a distinct surge in sales volumes. Young families and first-time buyers on a budget are especially flocking to the city’s periphery, playing a significant part in the renewed dynamism of Avignon’s property market.

Prices have been falling in the capital of the Vaucluse department for three years. In 2014 the annual price fall equaled 6.6% in the department as a whole and fell accordingly in 2015 according to the Chamber of Notaires of Vaucluse. The only exception to this price drop is intramural Avignon, where prices have remained stable, averaging out at 2,500 euros per square meter.

According to the vice president of the Vaucluse Chamber of Notaires, Alain Ducros, prices in Avignon’s city center have not fallen because “most owners have given up on selling property purchased at high prices during the boom years.” Because of this, sales volumes within the city’s walls fell by almost 15% over the last twelve months.

Out of Avignon’s 90,000 inhabitants, 12,000 reside in the historic center of town, which includes the Palace of the Popes, Cathedral and famous bridge the Pont d’Avignon, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Avignon is in fact one of the few cities in France to have fully preserved its medieval ramparts. Prices within the walls can reach lofty heights, as an example sale quoted by l’Express reveals: a 90 m2 property with a terrace and view which was recently purchased for 6,055 euros per square meter — or 545,000 euros. But these transactions are currently rather rare.

Fortunately, beyond the city’s ramparts, the situation is radically different. In 2014 prices fell by 12%, which caused transaction numbers to swell by 10%. In 2015, prices continued to drop, leading in turn to a sustained growth in sales.

In the papal city’s suburbs, prices are increasingly affordable to families with more modest budgets. More than 8 out of 10 homes being sold cost under 180,000 euros.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Chimigi

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