From the creation of original products to the new information and communication technologies, local businesses are a major asset for the region. Covering the economy, banking, property, town planning, architecture and more, this section puts you in close touch with initiatives and changes in our towns.
October 2023

In Provence, it’s (a little) different!

With more than one million transactions and prices rising sharply overall, 2021 and 2022 were two exceptional years in terms of real estate. Everything changed in 2023, with a significant decline that seems to have affected the national rather than the regional level.

Le programme Casaboha (Marseille, 8e), proposé par Novelis A&Associés, sera livré au premier trimestre 2025.
La terrasse d’un appartement de Casaboha (Marseille 8e).
Les villas du Roy, à Aix-en-Provence, un ensemble de 16 maisons d’architecte par A & A – Novelis
Habside accroît son offre hôtelière à Serre Chevalier.

The upturn of the post-Covid years

At least two factors explain the 2021-2022 market and price levels. Firstly, the desire of a large number of French people to change their lifestyle and, often, their region following the Covid 19 lockdown. Secondly, the very low level of interest rates.


The two real estate markets - that of needs and that of wants - are exploding under the effect of a movement driven by strong demand, attractive rates and relatively low supply. This imbalance between demand and supply has logically led to a significant increase in prices.

The end of 2022

Credit rates, which were previously around 1%, now exceed 3% (the average rate in July reached 3.61% according to figures from the CSA Housing Credit Observatory) and should reach 4% by the end of the year. Even if this remains below inflation, this increase severely limits the purchase possibilities. Since the beginning of 2023, the number of mortgages granted has fallen sharply (down 52% compared to the same period in 2022). The increase in credit rates and property prices accentuates the difficulty for purchasing real estate since obtaining a loan is now subject to multiple constraints (professional stability, high income levels, a healthy financial situation, significant personal deposits etc) The first victims are first-time buyers who are suffering a rejection rate close to 100%.

This significantly slows down the market, especially that of wants, that is to say that supported by the transactions of people wishing to move in order to have a better well-being, a larger living space, a garden or a nicer neighbourhood.  The needs market, which concerns those who absolutely must sell or buy because of fairly predictable life events (marriage, birth, illness, death, professional transfers etc) has naturally resisted more easily.


The 2023 buyers’ profile

We can distinguish three types of buyers: investors, buyer-sellers and first-time buyers.  Each are affected by the 2023 difficulties in different ways. 

Investors are putting their projects on hold due to the rise in interest rates, but also to the constraints of the various new pieces of legislation related to leasing, particularly those relating to energy performance.

As mentioned above, first-time buyers are bearing the brunt of the tightening credit conditions and find themselves being virtually excluded from the market.

The activity is therefore mainly driven by buyer-sellers. Their primary search criterion is usually location. This must reflect their life plan (schools, shops, workplace, leisure activities etc) as well as the potential added value since people now hold onto property for a shorter period of time than before. In addition to the location, the health crisis has made the availability of an outdoor space and a room dedicated to remote working appreciable factors. And energy performance levels are often taken into account prior to acquisitions.


Catching up in Marseille

In Marseille, prices are continuing to rise. As they were much lower than in other major cities, this is certainly a catch-up effect. The image value of Marseille, which has improved significantly since MP2013, explains this craze. On 1 August 2023, the FNAIM index estimates an average selling price of €3,403 per square metre in Marseille. Although this represents a fall of 2.4% over the last quarter, the increase compared with 2022 remains positive (+2.1%), and the rise over the last three years is +20.5%. However, the price per square metre in Marseille is still 10% lower than in the rest of the département (€3,739 per square metre on average).Two types of disparity characterise the Marseille market. The first concerns the type of property, with a gap between the price of houses (€5,216 per square metre) and flats (€3,055 per square metre). The second concerns the neighbourhoods, which show significant variations, between Périer (€7,128/sq m for houses and €4,627/sq m for flats) and Saint-Mauront (€1,857/sq m and €2,433/sq m respectively). Proximity to the city of Marseille is also very attractive, as shown by two examples from neighbouring towns: in Cassis, the averages are €8,927/sq. m for houses and €7,377/sq. m for flats, while in Plan-de-Cuques, the averages are €4,284/sq. m and €4,286/sq. m respectively.


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