House Hunting in … France

This 125-foot houseboat is anchored on the Right Bank of the Seine in central Paris, steps from points of interest just like the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre.

Built in 1920 from iron, teak and mahogany, and as soon as used for transporting sand round France, the houseboat at present homes a two-bedroom condo and two studios, totaling about 2,000 toes of dwelling area. It was renovated in 2013.

“When you’re outside on the terrace, upstairs, it’s like you’re living in a postcard,” mentioned Leandra Choay, an agent with Belles Demeures de France, a Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate, which has the itemizing. “You have the Assemblée Nationale, you have the Musée d’Orsay, you have a view of the Eiffel Tower, you have a view of the Grand Palais.”

A ramp from the dock results in the 1,290-square-foot essential condo. Down a brief staircase is the dwelling area, which features a front room and eating space and a kitchen in the rear.

The sunken front room has teak flooring, built-in bookshelves and a skylight. The eating space is 2 steps up, with a number of home windows overlooking the river, one other skylight and a desk for six. (The furnishings are that can be purchased, Ms. Choay mentioned.) The enclosed kitchen has open shelving, counter seating for 2 and a pass-through window to the dwelling space.

The two bedrooms are down a small hallway from the dwelling space, and share a toilet with a bathtub and bathe.

Behind the kitchen is the smaller of the 2 studios, which is 215 sq. toes and features a rest room and a kitchenette. The studio in the again, which is 430 sq. toes, is rented for about 10,000 euros ($11,200) a yr. Each studio has a non-public terrace.

Ms. Choay mentioned the setup fits households with teenage or grown kids. “Both studios have outdoor independent access, but they could be opened up to become part of the main apartment,” she mentioned.

Two parking areas are subsequent to the houseboat, and entry to the dock is non-public. Many of central Paris’s points of interest are close by: The Petit Palais and Grand Palais are throughout the road; the Louvre is a brief stroll away; and the Musee d’Orsay is immediately throughout the Seine. The nearest metro cease is a five-minute stroll, and Charles de Gaulle Airport is about 40 minutes away by automotive.

The common worth for an present condo in Paris (versus new improvement) surpassed its 2011 peak in early 2019 and continues to rise, mentioned Kathryn Brown, the director of operations for the true property company Paris Property Group.

According to town’s association of notaries, the average sale price in the most expensive area, the Sixth Arrondissement, climbed from about 11,300 euros a square meter ($1,165 a square foot) in January 2015 to about 14,000 euros a square meter ($1,450 a square foot) in January 2019. In the most affordable district, the 19th Arrondissement, the average sale price rose from 6,500 euros a square meter ($675 a square foot) in January 2015 to 8,350 euros a square meter ($860 a square foot) in January 2019.

The rising prices can be partly attributed to the perpetually high demand and limited supply in the Paris housing market, where new developments are scarce, said Charles-Marie Jottras, the president of Daniel Féau and Belles Demeures de France, a luxury real estate agency. Other recent factors, agents said, include low interest rates and Britain’s impending exit from the European Union, which has spurred French people living in Britain and British people with ties to France to buy property in Paris.

President Emmanuel Macron’s administration has also enticed luxury buyers by reversing taxes on the wealthy enacted by his predecessor, François Hollande, said Alexander V.G. Kraft, the chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty France-Monaco. Many affluent buyers, who had left France or opted to wait, returned in great numbers under Mr. Macron, causing “almost a frenzy,” Mr. Kraft said.

“Last year, we have seen big properties sell within 24 hours, like in London and New York many years ago,” he said. “It’s something that was unheard-of in Paris or France.”

While there are many studios and one-bedroom apartments in Paris, family-size units are scarce and tend to sell quickly, Mr. Jottras said. Homes in the “bourgeois arrondissements” — the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth, as well as the calmer, more family-oriented 16th — are always in demand, he said. But with buyers getting priced out of the center and western parts of the city, he added, the definition of a desirable neighborhood is expanding.

“Paris is becoming a big, bourgeois city. There are less sociological differences than before,” Mr. Jottras said. “If you want to live in Paris, you have to have money — almost anywhere.”

Mr. Kraft said he expects the market to begin leveling off as buyers balk at rising prices — although not in the gentrifying neighborhoods: “We’re just at the start of this curve, so there’s still time to get in there. And I think prices will go up in those quarters.”

But Pierre-Alain Conil, a partner with the Paris notary firm Morel d’Arleux Notaires, predicted that prices will continue to rise across the city, because of low interest rates and limited housing supply.

“Five years ago, we thought we were already at the peak,” he said. “Two years ago, we thought we were already at the peak. It seems like it’s going to stay like that at least for some years.”

Buyers in Paris have historically split evenly between French and foreign, Mr. Kraft said. But in the past two or three years, there has been a shift toward domestic buyers, who are “playing catch-up, so to speak,” he added.

As for foreigners, Mr. Kraft said that in the past year his agency has had clients from the United States, China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Switzerland.

Mr. Conil said he has seen an increase in buyers with ties to Britain. “They fear they will not be allowed to stay in the U.K. after Brexit,” he said. “Or they fear that the pound will drop after Brexit, so they want to invest in Europe.”

Ms. Brown works with English-speaking buyers, most of them from the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia. Those buyers are not relocating, she said; they are investing or want a pied-à-terre, or both.

There are no restrictions on foreigners owning property in France. Notaries with legal training, rather than lawyers or real estate agents, handle transactions in France, Mr. Conil said.

The total fees paid by the buyer, including the notary’s fee, are on a sliding scale, so the percentage decreases as the price of the property rises; they typically run about 7.5 percent of the sale price.

It can be difficult for nonresidents to obtain a mortgage, Mr. Conil said. The process takes around two months, and banks tend to limit loans to 50 to 70 percent of the sale price.

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