The outskirts of Toulouse
Created in 1992, the urban community of Greater Toulouse is home to 25 communes and 650,000 people, including 435,000 at the heart of the Pink City. Observers foresee the explosion of this "cluster area" within 15 years. More than ever, the outskirts and management of its growth are a matter of prime importance.
A small garden extends this 2-bedroom duplex apartment, which also offers two outdoor parking places. 175.000 €. Solvimo (05 61 37 06 11).
Urban development is being carried out at all four cardinal points, to the south-west from Muret to Carbon, the south along the RN 20 as far as Auterive, to the north towards Fronton and Grisolles, the west encompassing Saint-Lys and the south-east within the limits of Lanta, Montgiscard and Baziège. With over 1 million inhabitants and 342 communities, sometimes outside the "département", the fifth largest urban area in France accommodates 19,000 new arrivals each year, ie. two-thirds of the people who settle in the Midi-Pyrénées. Besides the quality of life, economic vitality fuels the region's popularity. Within "département 31", the aerospace industry accounts for 20,000 employees, just like textiles, wood, chemistry and metallurgy. Agribusiness provides 6,000 jobs, construction 27,500, commerce 60,000, and the service sector 145,000.
"The Garonne flows across the northern area, ie. that of Fenouillet, Gagnac and Saint-Jory. This geographical feature suffices to explain the low density of buildings and the many green areas. If it hampers development, the river guarantees pleasant surroundings. Currently, the riverbanks are getting a facelift," explains Mathieu Subreville of Solvimo. The A20 connecting Toulouse, Montauban and Barcelona also cuts across the area, dotted with logistic service areas, including Casino and Eurocentre. Airbus, a major contributor to population figures, stands on the far side of the river. Far from simply providing homes and shelter for workers in the City of Violets, the communes have retained their village atmosphere. Houses usually change hands at an average of 2,300 €/m2, recent apartments at 2,500 €/m2. Until 2000, high-rise buildings were rare. The 60 % of first-time buyers can afford up to 220,000 €. Benefitting from the profitable sale of a home at the heart of Toulouse, the 40 % of local workers buy themselves a comfortable house for 350,000 €, just 10 minutes from the Place du Capitole. During the crisis, the decline in activity has been undeniable, as was the reversal in January. Unusually low interest rates and tax incentives help to reduce expenses, with a controlled drop in prices of about 7-10 %. However, products offering good quality/price ratios are cruelly lacking. Based in the south, within the perimeter of Fonsorbes, Saint-Lys and Plaisance-du-Touch, 14 km from Le Capitole, Arnaud Antraygues of Une Autre Agence points to the wide variety of real estate. The great advantage in fact resides in the land still available. Armed with 300,000 €, a buyer can opt for either a turnkey property or construction. Elsewhere, in Fenouillet for example, the operation is more complicated, due to the lack of land with utilities. The euphoric years have resulted in an upward levelling of the clientele : more and more executives are interested in the location, at the crossroads of spearhead companies, between the Thibault and Airbus zones. Semi-detached houses offered for sale in their future state of completion start at 200,000 €, detached houses with four main rooms at 220,000 €, and new 1-bedroomed apartments at 120,000 €. As for building plots of 1,000 m2, they range from 135,000 to 150,000 €.
"Muret and the surrounding region post similar prices," adds Roland Pince of Pince Immobilier. The advantage of the sub-prefecture lies in its amenities, including schools up to secondary level, local shops and healthcare services. At the entrance to Muret, the road network allows for easy access to the sea, the ocean and the mountains. The rail shuttle links Matabiau, the train station at the centre of Toulouse, with the rural area characterized by individual housing. Besides, most buyers work in the capital of Haute-Garonne. Although only ten minutes separate Plaisance from this city on a human scale, it only benefits slightly from the presence of Airbus. The Cancéropôle should have more positive consequences. Still cautious, this estate-agent prefers to talk about a "show of interest" rather than a recovery, still slightly premature. Requiring deposits of up to 20 %, banks represent a major factor. Without the help of their parents, 28-35 year-olds, a group widely represented in this peripheral area, are finding it hard to enter the market. The future of real estate will necessarily depend on the easing of conditions for loans and the introduction of systems such as the "Pass-Foncier".