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Plummeting prices in Metz attract first-time buyers and investors alike

Real estate prices have been falling steadily for the past three years in northeastern French city Metz. “It’s time to buy,” according to professionals, advice increasingly heeded by first-time buyers and property investors.

With prices rarely exceeding 2,100 euros per square meter and still dropping, the property market is seeing the return of first-time buyers. Investors are also back, attracted by the possibility of high capital gains.

Boasting a historical city center rich in eighteenth-century buildings, this 120,000 resident-strong city in the Moselle department of the Lorraine region is less than an hour’s drive from neighboring Luxembourg and a mere half-hour from Paris on the high-speed train.

Jean-François Herbeth, realtor in Metz, tells l’Express that “buyers are rubbing their hands, faced with so many purchasing opportunities.” Average prices for property — excluding new builds — currently hover between 1,600 and 1,800 euros per square meter. Paired with low interest rates on loans, these circumstances mean “it’s more than ever the time to buy,” in manager of Guy Hoquet, Brigitte Trigano’s opinion.

First-time buyers seem to agree, as they have returned to take advantage of the city’s property bargains, even in the city center where prices are the highest. Prospectors are also searching in residential areas around the center, such as Vallières-les-Bordes, a district with a small-village feel and historic fortifications. To the west of the city lies Devant-les-Ponts, particularly appealing to commuters residing in France and working in Luxembourg.

The city center is especially popular with investors, with buyers attracted by the promise of high capital gains. Rental investment is also advantageous in the city, with the price of a studio fluctuating between 60,000 and 70,000 euros and monthly rent averaging 450 to 500 euros, depending on the location and quality of the property.

Indeed, Metz is popular with students. It is also a historic garrison town, and has a strong iron and steel heritage, kept alive by its center for applied research and material development. The city also presents sprawling public gardens, earning it the nickname “The Green City,” and one of the largest pedestrian areas in France lying at the heart of its city center.

The city has been undergoing an urban metamorphosis in the last few years, the Centre Pompidou-Metz cultural center opened five years ago, and the “high level bus service” Mettis was launched in 2013. New property is also constantly springing up, for instance near the Amphitheater, in the Coteaux eco-district and on the site where the city’s tobacco factory once stood.

However, Frédéric Albani, manager of the Lorraine region Laforêt agencies, believes that new housing is “still too expensive, despite being cheaper than last year.” The 130 units under construction near the former tobacco factory are currently advertised at 3,700 euros per square meter.

Photo credit: Wikipedia / Sebcaen

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