A Chat about the Paris Real Estate Market with Realtor François Madet

A Chat about the Paris Real Estate Market with Realtor François Madet
For as long as I have known real estate broker François Madet, whose office is just around the corner from my apartment in Paris, he has been unfailingly affable, and he was no less so when I stopped by the other day to talk about the real estate market in the City of Light. Monsieur Madet – a trim man with a trim white beard and observant, kindly eyes – has been a real estate broker for 20 years and has had his current office at 4, rue Frédéric Sauton in the 5th arrondissement for 16 of those years. He chose it for the usual reason – location, location, location; it’s practically in the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral, on a short street that runs between the Quai de Montebello and Boulevard Saint-Germain, just where Place Maubert is situated. And as a practical matter, it’s not far from where he lives. The office of real estate agent François Madet in the 5th arrondissement. Photo credit © Diane Stamm Monsieur Madet’s office, with its solid stone walls, has a casual, cosy feel, made all the more so by the warm yellow glow of his desk lamp. Sleigh bells gently jingle when the front door opens, making it feel it might be – enchantingly – a previous century. Monsieur Madet’s English is quite good, so that is what we speak. I wanted to ask Monsieur Madet what effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the real estate market in Paris. By way of background, the coronavirus reached France in January 2020, and as cases climbed, President Emmanuel Macron declared the first lockdown in March. It was extended twice and was finally lifted in May. But as the number of cases soared – they reached a record 26,896 new infections on October 10 – President Macron ordered a second lockdown, to begin on October 28. Restrictions have been partially lifted, although restaurants and cafes will probably not reopen until January 20. Empty storefront in the 5th arrondissement. Photo credit © Diane Stamm According to Monsieur Madet, during the first lockdown, there was no sales activity at all, as would be expected. People weren’t supposed to leave their homes except for specific purposes prescribed by the government, none of which involved buying a new place to live. But, as Monsieur Madet explained, when the first restrictions ended, “both buying and selling activity was strong,” and he had more transactions than usual. From June to August, sales were better than during the same period last year, and in fact between May 11, when the first lockdown ended, and October 28, when the second lockdown went into effect, activity was quite good. Significantly, neither sales nor rental prices have declined. In fact, they have remained stable. I asked Monsieur Madet if reports of families leaving the city for the country are true, and he confirms they are. But he says that people are also downsizing and keeping a smaller apartment in the city, even as they purchase an apartment or house outside of Paris. So people are not abandoning Paris completely. But if people have small children, for example, they are looking for places with yards where children can have more room to run free, and in a possibly less COVID-risky area. An eviction notice on a storefront in the 5th arrondissement. Photo credit © Diane Stamm

Lead photo credit : Real estate agent François Madet in his office in Paris. Photo credit © Diane Stamm

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Diane Stamm occasionally writes from Paris.