The French no longer want to live in Paris


What happened? Megacities have lost their popularity. Several studies confirm that the French now seek the availability of space and life in smaller cities.

Prices. Five months after the last lockdown, many old habits and the manner of living as before have returned to the French, but the desire to get out of the big cities seems to have persisted. Real estate prices have begun to level off little by little, in the largest and most expensive cities they have stopped or even declined, while many mid-sized cities are gaining momentum.

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Desires. In a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Century 21, 72% of respondents said they were attracted to smaller cities of less than 20,000 people, and 68% of them said they also want to live in rural areas.

What about Paris? Does the pursuit of rural life still seem like a fantasy? Only 27% of the French, they say, see life for themselves in a city of more than 100,000 people. Symbolic of this frustration is the attitude toward the capital: 79% of those surveyed said they were not attracted to the Paris agglomeration. Another study carried out by the service PAP confirms this. From 2019 to 2021, the number of inquiries related to real estate in Paris fell by 25.9%. Inquiries in general for housing in metropolitan areas (cities with a population of more than 200 thousand people) decreased by 23.3%. Interest in cities with populations between 100 and 200 thousand fell by 16.1%, and in cities with populations of around 50 thousand. – by 6.8%. Only small towns and rural areas showed an increase of 21.9% over the same period.

The market is calming down. In September 2021, homes still accounted for 63% of searches versus 37% of apartment searches. This is, of course, slightly less than in 2020 (68%), but more than in 2019 (59%). Overall, PAP notes that the market is calming down and returning to a more peaceful state, “a real rebalancing compared to the madness that began in May 2020 after the first lockdown.” After jumping 48.1% from 2019 to 2020, search volume fell 36.9% from 2020 to 2021 and is down 6.5% from 2019 to 2021.

Pros and cons. However, all is not lost for big cities. According to the Century 21 study, they are especially loved by the youngest – for the rhythm of life. Forty-nine percent of respondents under 35 said they were attracted to cities with more than 100,000 people, compared with only 12 percent of those in the 50+ category. In addition, 42% of respondents were attracted by the variety of cultural events offered, and 38% of respondents cited the availability of public transport as a plus. Among the #1 negative factors are noise, which became especially noticeable during the period of isolation (53%), as well as pollution (48%) and cost of living (37%).

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