Seven days and counting ’till I get on a plane and fly to Paris where I’ll be spending two months studying French and making contacts with French “Agents Immobilier” aka Real Estate Agents. Since getting my Certified International Property Specialist designation in November, I’ve been looking to expand our business internationally and I know, in order to do that, I need to be out and about in the world. France has always been a favorite destination, ever since the days when I was an international public broadcasting executive and traveled overseas for my job. As a Realtor, I’ve loved getting to know Portland but have missed the thrill of exploring new places and learning about how the rest of the world lives. So, my upcoming sabbatical will not only quench my thirst for adventure but also aid our plans to bring Urban Nest International into the world market.
I’ve already been learning lots about the French real estate market through a very cool website French Property Insider. It’s run by an American woman living in Paris named Adrian Leeds who buys and sells properties in Paris. She also runs an English-French conversation group called Parler Parlour that meets three times a week. It’s a chance for English and French speakers to get together and talk in French for the first 45 minutes and switch to English for the second half of the session. I’m planning to be a regular so I’ll let you know how it goes. As for property in Paris, according to Bloomberg Business Week in an article entitled Paris Apartments Keep Going Up, journalist Simon Packard states “It’s the locals — not American or English couples looking for a pied-a-terre — who are driving up prices. The French are shunning stock and bond markets and putting money into Paris real estate at a time when fewer owners are selling properties and little new stock is coming on the market.” Packard also notes that in 2010, Parisians saw an increase in real estate at a rate of 18% as compared to 1% in London and a flat market in New York City. Adrian points out that Paris, unlike New York and London, has building restrictions to protect the historic districts and height restrictions in all parts of the city. Sounds kind of like a French version of Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary, n’est-ce pas? Because of these restrictions there are less available properties so the ones that are there are holding and increasing in value.
So, to everyone concerned about the U.S. real estate market, perhaps now is the time to begin exploring your property options in Paris! I’ll be on the ground for two months and will make sure to check out some properties and, if you have something special in mind, let me know and I’ll do my best to find it for you.