This Paris Life

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Property sales slowly resume in La Rochelle

Falling real estate prices in La Rochelle have led to a slight swell in sales volumes in the center and around the city’s parks. Nonetheless, the Rochelais market has still not recovered its high performance of 2012.

Suffering from a drop in real estate transactions the past three years, La Rochelle’s property sector has been experiencing renewed sales since the summer.

The charming seaport hosts a yearly International Film Festival, the Francopholies music festival and three jazz festivals, as well as numerous international sailing competitions attracting tens of thousands of people each year. La Rochelle counts 200,000 inhabitants, making it the Charente-Maritime department’s largest urban area.

Despite these many attributes, the city was no exception to the national housing slump in 2012. This resulted in two years of very irregular transaction volumes. Its popularity does make La Rochelle an expensive city, with average prices hovering around 3,000 euros per square meter. But for the last two years, prices have been falling by “5 to 15% depending on the property type and area”, according to Anne Costenoble, notaire in Saint-Martin-de-Ré.

As is often the case, the city center remains a safe bet for buyers despite the shaky economic context. Central property attracts all buyer profiles, from wealthy families to pensioners and investors to vacationers.

Cheaper rates are available in districts to the northwest of the city center, such as the mainly residential Laleu and Mireuil areas. On the outskirts of town, buyers have had to revise their prices downward, sometimes drastically. Manager of La Bourse real estate agency Geoffroy Marchal, cites a 70m2 property recently sold for 200,000 euros, or 45,000 euros less than what the owner bought it for in 2013. This spells good news for bargain hunters interested in French seaside property.

Dubbed Porte Océane — or Ocean Gateway — La Rochelle is famous for its large marina, sand beaches and imposing medieval towers guarding the city’s Old Port. Close to Ré, Oléron and Aix, three islands popular amongst vacationers, La Rochelle is also rendered popular by its architectural heritage, peaceful neighborhoods, numerous parks and gardens and its environmentally friendly transport network.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Jean-Pierre Bazard

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