The Alpes Maritimes Housing Property Observatory welcomes the fact that the housing property market is catching up while still pointing to the supply deficit in real estate. The current deficit since 2014 continues its rise in 2016 to + 14%
Real estate market players are smiling again.Recently at the airport business centre, in front of an assembly of professionals and elected representatives, the president of the Nice-Côte d’Azur Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented reassuring indicators of the Real Estate Observatory for the department. “It was an exceptional year for new homes in 2016, where we found levels similar to the year 2003,” commented Jean-Pierre Savarino, giving details of the “+ 32% increase in sales that have reached 4,200, + 28% for sales, and available stock up by 14%.
For collective housing, this acquisition market is still dominated by the private sector (66.5% of sales) where the average price is at 5,226 €/month in very slight contraction (-2%). More than a third of the activity concerns property above 5,000 €/mo. The public market ranks second (25.3%) and a tariff level of 2768 €/mo. Good news: the collapse of the resale sector (2012-2014) has been forgotten in 2016. Recovery continues at the same pace, with a 13% increase and an average price of 3,889 €/mo, which is almost stable (-1%). This is the core of the market, which is not fully accessible to the active population. Jean Pierre Savarino pointed out: “Prices are high compared to the financial capacities of these households”. This activity is notably the highest (38%) up to the threshold of 3,000 €/mo and falls to 17% at the higher level of 4,000 €/mo.
This summary concentrated on the essentials (other detailed analyses will follow) and was the opportunity to highlight points of weakness. The President of the Nice-Côte d’Azur Chamber of Commerce continues to challenge the public authorities “about the structural deficit in the supply that persists. This represents a brake on the activity of the territory”. The President of the Observatory, repeated the argument. Jean-Pierre Ebel insisted cautiously: “We know it is still a tight market. The activity is mainly driven by the Nice-Côte d’Azur Metropolis, which accounts for 60% of sales and 97% of sales. Dynamism has to be put into perspective because it is a catch-up effect and the gap between supply and demand is still large.” Due to this, the findings have thus not changed.
Positive and negative
Jean-Pierre Ebel, President of the Observatory for Housing Property gave a concise analysis of current trends.
“The basic problem of growth remains. Demographic change is also not favourable. In addition, there are long housing production cycles, administrative delays, recourse, and of course, the very important issue of the communities, low production, and land for construction. It is essential that production efforts be directed towards housing adapted to the intermediate categories.”
“This level of activity in the new year had not been recorded since 2003. Despite a slight increase, interest rates remain attractive today. Except for major political or economic events, this element is likely to remain favourable. But there is uncertainty. Bear in mind that the rates, at the low levels reached in 2016, represent a 25% decrease in the purchasing price. By 2016, the Pinel scheme and the zero-rate loan have helped to make the market dynamic.”
The housing of tomorrow
Anticipate change. This was the objective of the Nice-Côte d’Azur Chamber of Commerce, which wanted to bridge the 2016 balance sheet with the condition of our future dwellings in 2030, or even in 2050. To build on this perspective, Jean-Pierre Savarino had appealed to two speakers who delivered sometimes astonishing visions for the future. Sonia Lavadinho, an urban anthropologist based her view on ideas of future mobility and the total flexibility of the housing of the future. “The fixtures of our modern life, such as keeping warm, washing, relaxing, recharging devices can be met by solutions which compete with the fixed dwelling,” said the consultant, referring to the end of the straight forward home purchases “except for housing with some emotional attachment to it,”and to the benefit of “subscription solutions adapted to different periods of life and flexibility.” Sonia Lawadinho covered several possible paths, imagining mobility “in the car of tomorrow”, or “the return of self-construction stimulated by 3-dimensional printing techniques”. Regardless of the shape of the living space, this expert imagines it in terms of “being served”, with one or more robots. But developers or engineers will have to rack their brains over these ideas. In conclusion, Sonia Lavadinho declared: “Any dwelling will have to be ‘experiential’ by 2030 or it will be unsellable!” The experiences will thus have to be proposed à la carte, or in a personalised manner.
Alain Maugard, the second speaker, former president of the Centre for Building Science and Technique, spoke about a less distant future view.
Putting the city back in cities
Maugard’s future view is based on the city and its possible evolution, always in order to adapt to the demands and the transformations of our lifestyles. “How can we live differently in our existing urban centres? Cities have triumphed everywhere and it is a question of staying together in order to share, to build, so what interest is there in being in a town?”explained the scientist. He believes fundamentally in “the economic power of the city” and wants to strengthen it. Such a scheme allows him to connect certain points mentioned before such as “the mixing of habitat uses and great flexibility, the de-compartmentalisation between office and housing”. He moves from there to imagine, at the same time, more energy independence and productivity gains thanks to collaborative work. In his analysis, it is a matter of strengthening the pre-eminence of the city, quantitatively by densifying it and qualitatively by adapting even more buildings, and imagining but also developing more dialogue. And by stimulating an idea of beauty that is both useful and social: “Regarding this relationship between the local culture, the idea of the art of living, the link with nature, climate and usage, these concepts are still not being maximised on the Côte d’Azur,” he said.
With greater collaboration, anticipated technological advances and increased awareness of the desires of city dwellers, the future could continue to look bright for housing property and real estate development in the Alpes Maritimes area.