With the number of home sales – and prices – in France down in 2014 compared to 2013, French estate agents are urging the government not to interfere in what they describe as a “fragile market”.

The comprehensive Housing in France 2015 report from France’s National Federation of Real Estate (FNAIM) points to taxation of capital gains and increases in registration fees in recent times as factors that have led to a 2.4% year-on-year drop in sales, to 710,000, and a national average 1.5% drop in prices.

While domestic sales are struggling, agents dealing with overseas buyers have seen rising demand, encouraged by falling prices, the weakness of the euro and the availability of cheap mortgages.

FNAIM President Jean-François Buet says the market has suffered from and any restrictions on credit or rent would deliver fierce blows to a fragile market. The report predicts prices to fall 2-3% on average in 2015, back to 2007 levels.

Trevor Leggett, chairman of leading French agent Leggett Immobilier, says his company has seen sales rise 40%: “It’s crystal clear that international buyers are, once again, back in the market. They have access to an increasing amount of market research that shows that prices have dropped and the domestic market remains becalmed.  Add in a weak euro and access to cheap money and you have a trio of reasons to think that timing is right.”

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