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"Covid-19 has not killed the craving to acquire real estate, at least for clients of the Daniel Féau and Belles demeures de France networks who carried out a survey questioning over 900 potential buyers with a budget of above 500,000€ and who, prior to lockdown, were actively seeking to buy in Paris or in the nearby western suburbs.

Over 82% of those questioned confirmed that they intend to pursue their project, and for two-thirds of them almost immediately. Only 10% have put their project on hold, with 7.4% yet to make a decision.

Better still, over 70% have decided to increase their budget for the acquisition. And although three-quarters of those questioned foresee a drop in prices overall in France over the next two years, over half of them think that prices shall remain stable or even increase in Paris and the nearby western suburbs. 60% anticipate that prices for the type of property that they are seeking to acquire shall remain stable or rise. This may be interpreted as a sign that buyers fear that this type of asset may become increasingly rare on the market, or of confidence regarding future supply and demand. For example, 75% of those questioned think that the demand for 3/4 bed family apartments shall continue to exceed supply, taking into account the rarity of such assets and particularly in Paris.

Féau's clients and future clients' confidence appears clear when taking into account how they intend to pursue their project. Some 70% declare that they would prefer to find and acquire their new main residence before selling their current home. This is in total contrast to the situation in the autumn of 2008 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers when the sale of the current residence was an absolute priority before moving onto the acquisition stage.

Finally, the Féau analysis debunks some of the nonsense that has been bandied about over the past weeks. About 70% of the 900 questioned stated that the Covid-19 crisis would not change the characteristics of the asset that they were, and are still, planning to buy. The percentage rises to some 81% for buyers with a budget exceeding 2.5 million euro. However, 68% nonetheless anticipate that the demand for secondary residences shall increase over the coming months. According to Daniel Féau, this is upheld by a “strong demand” from Parisians seeking to acquire in the nearby western suburbs or in the Aix-en-Provence area where Féau also has an agency.

So what concretely is really happening in the field? “We have already been in contact with a significant number of buyers who we were accompanying up to the 17th of March and lockdown... Offers have been submitted, and several have already been accepted” says Nicolas Pettex, managing director of the Féau network. “We would imagine, taking into account the number of visits to our websites and the responses to our survey, that the rest of our potential buyers shall soon be in contact with us.”

The Daniel Féau and Belles demeures de France agencies conclude between 600 and 700 transactions each year for properties priced at between 500 000 and 2 million euro. They also achieve over one in four sales at prices between 2 and 4 million euro, and about 50% of those at prices in excess of 4 million euro."

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