PARIS – A slump in the French property market has cost 10,000 jobs and forced 10 percent of the country’s 30,000 estate agencies to close, the president of the national federation of estate agencies said on Tuesday, warning that the market could contract further.
The fall comes as France struggles to cope with weak economic growth owing to the effects of the financial and european debt crises, and its own economic problems.
The head of the Fnaim federation Jean-Francois Buet said that, excluding new homes, the number of home transactions had fallen from a record of 829,000 in 2005, before the financial crisis, to 805,000 in 2011 and 655,000 in 2012.
He warned that the number of sales might fall even further to 600,000.
“It’s an extremely strong fall, more than the one following the subprime crisis,” he told a press conference, referring to a crash of a housing bubble in the United States which triggered the recent fiunancial crisis in 2008.
“We haven’t been in a speculation bubble and the prices won’t collapse,” he said.
He held that prices were being supported by a shortage of housing and historically low interest rates for home mortgages.
The Fnaim estimated that in 2013,the prices of homes would be steady or fall by a maximum of 2.0 percent from price levels in 2012.