Summary of our market study

The French estate agency market has seen various fluctuations since 2020, with a significant change in dynamics due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent crises such as the war in Ukraine. Despite these fluctuations, the digitization of the market and adherence to new regulations, such as the ALUR and ELAN laws, have played a key role in the sector's trajectory. In addition, the increase in mortgage interest rates to 4.5% by September 2023 has played a crucial role in influencing market dynamics, leading to a contraction in lending and thus affecting the sector's overall performance.

Demand trends in France

In recent years, the French real estate market has seen a fluctuation in demand influenced by a variety of factors, including economic recovery, changes in behavior and regulatory changes. In particular, the market has experienced a remarkable boom, with the sector recording almost 1.2 million transactions in 2021, reflecting a deep recovery from previous economic downturns. In 2022, this high level of activity has been maintained, with around 1.16 million transactions, making it the second most dynamic year in the market's history.

Demand in the estate agency market can be attributed to a steady average annual growth rate of around 8%, which has been constant from 2015 to 2022, despite a slight dip during the COVID-19 pandemic. The existing housing segment is showing a significant rise in demand, with households increasingly preferring to buy and renovate older properties rather than build new ones. After steady growth between 2015 and 2021, the sector saw a negligible decline of around 5% in transactions in 2022.

The rental property segment also showed dynamism, with around 43% of the more than 30 million French households renting, and a considerable share of rental property transactions. By contrast, in the commercial property segment, a sharp drop in investment occurred in 2020, with a slight recovery in 2022 to €25.9 billion, but forecasts for 2023 suggest a drop to €17.3 billion. House prices rose until 2023, when the trend reversed, particularly in Paris. A worrying trend in 2023, with forecasts predicting perhaps the worst crisis since 2008 - a consequence of rising interest rates, reduced lending and declining purchasing power.

Nevertheless, franchises continue to outpace independent agents, although they face stiff competition from digital platforms and online tools, which have not had a significant impact on the share of sales between private individuals over the past decade.

The market has also been subject to the ramifications of national regulations such as the ALUR and ELAN laws, which have brought strict controls and transparency to real estate activities. Against this backdrop, real estate agencies rely on several demand drivers such as government incentives, property prices, mortgage interest rates and tenant residential mobility. However, rising interest rates, which have notably risen to around 4.5% by 2023, have led to a contraction in the number of loans granted, presenting a challenge for the real estate market in terms of transaction volumes.

Customers' expectations of estate agents have been distinct, with the emphasis on agents' responsiveness, personalized advice and reputation. Satisfaction is generally favorable to the relationship and availability of agents, but reservations are expressed about price assessment and commission levels.

The key players shaping the French real estate market

The French real estate market is a dynamic and complex environment, characterized by a diverse set of key players, each bringing unique strengths and innovations to the industry. At the heart of the market are traditional, networked and digital entities driving the real estate transaction and management processes. Here's a closer look at some of the pivotal organizations in this ever-changing landscape :

Traditional agencies:

  • Foncia Transaction: Established as the cornerstone of the traditional estate agency sector, Foncia Transaction stands out for its wide range of services, which include property sales, rentals and management.
  • Century 21: Recognized worldwide, Century 21 in France continues to leverage the strength of its international brand and local market expertise to efficiently facilitate real estate transactions.
  • Orpi: Operating as a cooperative network, Orpi boasts a large number of local agencies, promoting cooperation to facilitate the purchase, sale and rental of real estate.
  • Laforêt Immobilier: With an extensive network of units, Laforêt Immobilier offers comprehensive services tailored to the nuanced needs of the French market.
  • Guy Hoquet: Known for its strong network and local market knowledge, Guy Hoquet has established itself as another leading name in the provision of franchised real estate services.
  • L'Adresse: With its extensive network, L'Adresse continues to consolidate its position thanks to its customer-focused approach to real estate transactions.
  • Arthur Immo: The smaller but agile Arthur Immo agency prides itself on personalized customer service and in-depth knowledge of the local market.

Agent networks:

  • CapriFrance: As an extensive network of independent real estate agents, CapriFrance innovates with flexible structures and competitive commission rates.
  • OptimHome: Allowing agents to operate independently while benefiting from the support of a network, OptimHome stands out for its adaptability and wide range of services.
  • Safti: Famous for its extensive network and effective strategies, Safti is associated with growth and a strong foothold in the agent network segment.

Digital agencies:

  • Imop: A digital pioneer, Imop harnesses technology to streamline the process of buying and selling real estate, offering customers a modern and efficient experience.
  • Welmo: Another digital pioneer, Welmo has carved out a niche for itself by offering forward-thinking solutions and focusing on user-friendly platforms. Whether rooted in tradition or pioneers in the digital field, these companies are pioneers in their own right
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  • Number of pages : ~ 40 pages
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  • Last update : 20/11/2023
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition of scope and market

A real estate agency is a company operating in the field of property transactions. It acts as an intermediary between the seller and the buyer, or between the owner and the tenant of a property. Its role is either to find a buyer for a property for sale, or to find a tenant for a rental property. The buyer may be a legal entity or a company. The real estate agency employs real estate negotiators/agents to carry out the intermediation.

Estate agencies work for two types of customer:

  • The majority of estate agencies are dedicated to private property : houses, land or garages in urban and rural areas.
  • A minority (less than 10%) of estate agents are specialists in commercial property: offices, industrial land, factories and warehouses or shops.

The French estate agency market is growing, as part of the economic recovery experienced by the entire real estate sector from 2016 onwards. The market is being driven in particular by the rise in sales of existing properties, and by the confidence that the French place in estate agencies, with the majority of French people using them for their real estate transactions. Furthermore,in 2021,the French real estate market recorded its absolute record number of transactions, while in 2022, the market recorded its second most dynamic year ever, with 1.16 million transactions. The average annual growth rate in the number of transactions between 2015 and 2022 is 8.84% .

In 2023, the global real estate market will be in the throes of its worst crisis since 2008, due in part to rising interest rates, a general decline in prices per sq. m. (particularly in Paris, where the number of transactions is expected to rise), and an increase in the number of transactions.square meter (particularly in Paris, where they have fallen below 10,000 euros per square meter), a reduction in lending and a reduction in household purchasing power. How are real estate agencies planning to adapt to this crisis?

In a highly competitive market, independent estate agents are gradually losing ground to franchises, which are better distributed and enjoy greater visibility. Competition from Internet tools, and online platforms in particular, has weighed on the search for properties, although the share of property sales between private individuals has remained stable over the past ten years.

Finally, new regulations on a national scale with the ALUR laws in 2014 and then ELAN in 2018 have had a direct impact on the profession's activities, without triggering growth or decline. There are, however, points of vigilance to take into account when studying the future market.

1.2 A growing French real estate agency market

The real estate market in France is highly dependent on various economic crises, as was the case during the financial crisis in ****, and more recently during the health crisis, as well as the geopolitical crisis with the war in Ukraine. In ****, however, a strong rebound benefited the sector, with the French ...

1.3 Looking back at the impact of the Covid-19 crisis

Despite the strong impact of the Covid-** crisis on the estate agency sector, the crisis and the confinements of **** did not mark a complete halt to real estate activity. In fact, after the first shutdown, almost **% of French people continued to consult real estate ads, and over **% continued to request information ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Buoyant market for existing and rental properties, while new-build and commercial property suffer from crises

Existing homes The property market is particularly buoyant in the existing homes segment. Households increasingly prefer to buy an existing property and renovate it, rather than build a new one. Between **** and ****, the number of transactions in existing properties rose steadily, then fell by *.*% in **** to reach *.** million transactions in ****. We ...

2.2 Demand drivers

The main factors influencing demand from estate agents are as follows

government measures (***), detailed in section *.* property prices, as detailed in section *.* mortgage interest rates residential mobility of tenants

Bank rates

By ****, **% of buyers will have taken out a mortgage to purchase their main residence. This figure is even higher for ...

2.3 Expectations and level of satisfaction with real estate agents

The French are particularly sensitive to the responsiveness of real estate agents, which they consider to be the primary criterion inspiring trust. Personalized advice, reputation and the agent's ability to listen also come into play. The importance attached to the agency they work for is low, with only *% of respondents citing ...

2.4 Demand trends: the customer journey goes digital

While physical channels, such as contact with real estate professionals and friends and family, are still a widespread means of information when looking for a property, ad sites, apps and social networks are also highly represented among the various information channels in ****. Indeed, apps and social networks are also widely used ...

2.5 France's favorite real estate agencies

The graph below is based on OpinionWay's survey of French people's favorite brands in March ****. Foreach agency, the percentage corresponds to the proportion of respondents who answered "yes ".

Stephane Plaza Immobilier topped the list, with **.*% of respondents saying they liked it. Foncia was the least popular of the real estate agencies, ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Market structure and organization

Breakdown by category

Real estate agencies fall into three main categories:

Traditional agencies: Orpi, Century **, Laforêt Immobilier etc. Agent networks: IAD, Safti, Capifrance etc. Online agencies: Marton, Imop, Liberkeys, Proprioo etc.

The rise of agents at the expense of franchises

Franchise networks account for a quarter of the real estate ...

3.2 Market structure

In ****, France will have ***** registered estate agencies. After a sharp fall after the crisis of ****, the number of estate agencies has seen a structural increase since ****, corresponding to the period when the real estate sector experienced an economic recovery.

Number of real estate agencies France, ****-****, in units Source: ****

The number ...

3.3 Digitizing the market

The real estate agency market has been strongly impacted by the digital and digital revolution and its effects, on three businesses in particular:

innovative services to improve sales tools ; platforms platforms for private individuals; increased competition from private players and online advertisers vis-à-vis real estate agencies.

Physical real estate agencies ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Property prices on the rise in most conurbations

The rise in prices seen for several years has become more pronounced since ****. In the first quarter of ****, prices of older homes rose by *.*% compared to the first quarter of the previous year. New homes also saw a substantial increase over the same period, albeit a smaller one (***).

In ****, however, we ...

4.2 Rising prices benefit estate agents

The intermediary's commission rate is a key factor in the customer's decision whether or not to use a real estate agency. Real estate agencies are increasingly facing competition from free, one-to-one platforms and agent networks that can offer more attractive rates.

Since ****, there has been no ceiling on commissions, which can ...

5 Regulations

5.1 A strict, evolving regulatory framework

Loi Hoguet: regulation of real estate activity

The activities of real estate professionals (***).

The zero-rate loan (***)

The PTZ is an interest-free loan granted in addition to another loan to buy or build a home. To qualify for this loan, a number of conditions must be met, notably concerning the property, its ...

5.2 ALUR and ELAN laws

The ALUR law

LAW no. ****-*** of March **, **** for access to housing and renovated urban planning (***) pursues three major objectives:

to regulate real estate markets and control abusive practices ; promote access to housing, while protecting the most vulnerable populations ; develop innovation and transparency.

With regard to the activities of real estate ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

  • Century 21 (Arche Groupe)
  • Orpi
  • LAFORET Immobilier (Arche Groupe)
  • Guy Hoquet (Arche Groupe)
  • L'Adresse
  • Emeria (ex Foncia Groupe)
  • Zillow
  • Liberkeys
  • Nomad Homes
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • Woopen

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Size of the French real estate agency market
  • Number of sales of older homes
  • Marketing new homes (sales to individuals)
  • Proportion of transactions for rental property
  • Value of commercial real estate investments
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Latest news

Real Estate: The impact of Zillow's failure on French start-ups. - 17/11/2021
  • Zillow abandons iBuying in France, abandoning 17,000 homes, far more than the number of transactions recorded by the French leaders
  • Strong impact on French start-ups in the sector:
  • Homeloop expects to grow to 450 transactions in 2021, representing 100 million euros in purchases and 70 million in resales.
  • Homeloop believes that the market is large enough for several players to compete.
  • Homeloop does not foresee any slowdown in its growth, with a target of 200 million euros in purchases and 150 million in resales next year.
  • Having raised 4 million euros in 2020 after its first transaction, Zéfir estimates that it has reached a monthly rate of fifty transactions on an annual volume basis of 220 million euros.
Nomad Homes, the property hunter aiming to overtake SeLoger - 29/09/2021
  • Nomad Homes operates in Dubai and Paris
  • The start-up was able to expand into France and a new European country thanks to a $20 million round of financing
  • It offers a lower commission than the market (between 3% and 8%)
  • Nomad Homes charges 1% for the full service until March 2022
  • This fresh financing will enable the company to grow from 40 to 70 employees by the end of the year

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Century 21 (Arche Groupe)
LAFORET Immobilier (Arche Groupe)
Guy Hoquet (Arche Groupe)
Emeria (ex Foncia Groupe)

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