Nîmes, a composite clientele
Home to 150,000 residents, the capital of Le Gard encourages an architectural dialogue between past and present. Norman Foster designed the Carré d'Art, Jean-Michel Wilmotte renovated the theatre and Les Halles, and Jean Nouvel is taking a new glance at the city's council housing... not far from the Maison Carrée, Les Arènes and Castellum Divisorium, 2000 years old. The lateston the property scene in this Town of Art and History...
This town of Art and History offers some very pleasant strolls.
Of the total 39,890 acres comprising the urban area, 1,010 are devoted to natural spaces and 2,964 to forests. Nîmes itself is being treated to embellishment. The Allées Jean-Jaurès are getting a facelift, while Arènes-Feuchères, a prolongation of the historic centre, is being endowed with a 20-acre ensemble, including 5 acres of landscaping. The university is settling in comfortably in Hoche-Sernam and the northern part of Gambetta is being rehabilitated.
Sarah Galibert and Alexis Guez of L'Agence note a slowdown in transactions, all sectors and prices combined. The problem does not lie in demand, which is relatively stable, nor in the town, whose potential for progression is clear to see, but in supply, which does not really match the expectations and financial resources of potential buyers. One of the most recent sales handled by the agency was a building priced at 570,000 €, comprised of 12 units, mainly studios rented out at 310-340 € per month, including charges. In addition to a rental return of close on 7 %, the buyer obtained a secure long-term asset. A first-time buyer then acquired a 1-bedroom apartment of 45 m2 in need of a revamp, on Quai de La Fontaine, for 63,000 €. Finally, a family moving from the Parisian region for professional reasons paid 210,000 € for a villa of 127 m2 to renovate, in grounds of 1,000 m2 in Bouillargues. 40 % of today's clients are looking for investments, 25 % small buildings offered for sale in their entirety, and the rest properties in the 50,000 to 100,000 € bracket. Two-thirds of main home purchasers target properties under 200,000 €, and only a quarter can afford prices between 350,000 and 600,000 €.
"Small surface areas, studios and 1-bedroom apartments, are snapped up by investors, now turning their attention to older buildings in the absence of any real motivating incentive schemes," add Philippe Lechalier and Rodolphe Goube of Côté Pierres Immobilier. For this type of property, they pay 1,700-2,000 €/m2. Likewise, small buildings up for sale, often in a sorry state, draw the interest of private clients who renovate them, benefit from tax credits and lease them out, or property dealers who restructure the entire building before re-selling smaller units. In the meantime, families are continuing to grow, as exemplified by one couple with children who paid 170,000 € for a terraced house of 114 m2 in need of a lick of paint, with a garden of 350 m2. Usually, first-time buyers do not go beyond 160,000 €. According to notaries, the average price of a house in Nîmes is about 238,000 €, that of an apartment 111,000 €. 70 % of sales of apartments concern those with 2 bedrooms. As for building plots, they cost around 102,000 € on estates in Nîmes, versus 90,000 € in Le Gard. Properties on offer at 700,000 € seem to address more particularly a clientele from outside the region. "Over the last decade, prices in Nîmes have doubled," say our estate-agents, "with the sharpest rise observed from 2002 to 2007".