Real Estate in France: How Much It Costs to Buy or Rent a Home

Over 10% of property purchases in Paris and its suburbs in 2023 were made by foreigners. Real estate is acquired not only for living but also for rental purposes or investment — the French market remains stable regardless of the country’s economic situation.

In this article, we will discuss how to buy real estate in France, the cost of housing, and renting in different regions.

Previously, we wrote about diploma recognition in France.


Every country has its own advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when buying a home. From the perspective of a rental investor, the French market has specific characteristics:

  • High notary fees. Transaction fees associated with purchasing real estate in France are higher than in many other countries. However, as a result, the market adapts more easily to economic changes.
  • Long-term fixed rate. It is higher than a variable rate, but the buyer does not risk facing a sudden increase in mortgage payments. If rates suddenly drop significantly, refinancing with another bank can be requested.
  • Tenant protection. It is very difficult to evict someone for non-payment here.
  • Market hyperconcentration in Paris and major provincial cities. The most active sales occur in Bordeaux, Marseille, and Provence.

The total cost of real estate consists of the property’s price, agency fees, and “notary fees” — several types of taxes that need to be paid.

Average Property Prices by Region in France

According to Statista, the most expensive housing for buyers is in Paris (€10,380 per square meter for a house and €9,733 per square meter for an apartment), Lyon (€6,455 and €4,932 respectively), and Bordeaux (€5,507 and €5,534 respectively).

It is cheaper to buy real estate in Nîmes (€2,903 per square meter for a house and €2,379 per square meter for an apartment), Le Havre (€2,714 and €2,146 respectively), and Saint-Étienne (€1,918 and €1,385 respectively).

Consult the table below to find out where you can buy affordable housing, a house, or an apartment in France.

RegionApartment, €/m²House, €/m²
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur3,8153,903
Pays de la Loire3,2242,287
Centre-Val de Loire2,2511,707
Grand Est1,8061,587

Data provided by Particulier à Particulier real estate agency, 2024

The cost of housing is based on the following factors: location, environment, area, number of rooms, availability of amenities, and the economic and social situation of the city. Several French real estate websites offer price calculators that can be used to estimate the cost of the desired property.

Homes with additional features (garden, terrace, pool) can have a markup of up to 30%. Apartments are valued based on the condition of common areas.

Real Estate Taxes in France

Charges and notary fees vary depending on the type of property being purchased.

For resale properties, fees amount to 7-8% of the purchase price, and the registration fee is 5.8% of the same amount. New builds and properties under construction (VEFA) cost 2-3% of the purchase price + 20% VAT, with registration fees included (0.7%).

These amounts are paid at the time of purchase to the notary responsible for the sale, hence these fees are referred to as “notary fees.”

If you plan to rent out the acquired property and are not a resident of France, your activity is also subject to a tax of 20% minimum rate and 17.2% social taxes (CSG CRDS).

Property owners pay a property tax (a percentage of the cadastral value) and a real estate tax (from 0.5% to 1.5% of the property’s value).


To obtain a housing loan in France, it is not necessary to work or reside in the country. Banks consider applications from foreigners and analyze the applicant’s professional, financial, and family situation.

As a result, the applicant is offered a mortgage loan, the maximum amount of which is based on the value of the property rather than the client’s creditworthiness.


1. Determine your criteria and preferences

Start by assessing your needs and expectations, as well as your creditworthiness. It is easier to search when you have a clear idea of your purchasing goal and the important criteria for your future home: proximity to work, shops, schools, and universities, availability of greenery, parking spaces, and recreational areas.

Think about the internal aspects: number of floors, bedrooms, living room area, presence of a garden, fireplace, pool. Decide on the location: city, sea, mountains, countryside. Begin market research with a foundation that you or your hired real estate agent can work from.

If the geographical area is not crucial or you are unsure where you want to live, start by looking at the price per square meter in various municipalities in France. Compare offers for similar apartments/houses in different regions and determine your budget.

Once you have a general idea of what you need and how much it costs, you can assess your finances or consider a loan. You can choose between buying a small but expensive apartment in Paris or opting for a more spacious home in another region of France.

Additionally, if you plan to actually live in the property, consider the following:

  • Availability of roads and public transport;
  • Climate in the region;
  • Local culture and language, presence of an expatriate community or primarily French residents;
  • Cost of living: food, insurance, medical services, gasoline expenses, TV, internet, mobile phone, electricity and water rates, tax rates;
  • Safety of the area;
  • Availability of public spaces: parks, museums, sports complexes;
  • Maybe even presence of consular services from your country.

Avoid spontaneous purchases! To be sure about the place where you will live, try renting an apartment or house nearby first. This will help you understand if the region meets your needs or if you should continue your search.

Which region do most foreigners prefer?

By the end of 2023, notaries in Greater Paris provided data on purchases by foreign clients. More than two-thirds (about 68%) of non-residents chose the Île-de-France region (Paris and its surroundings). They primarily purchase apartments, while demand for houses has decreased — only 5% compared to 15% in 2021.

A personal visit is preferable, but if you have not yet arrived in the country, you can ask the owner or real estate agent to conduct an online room tour. During the viewing, clarify:

  • The area of the property to calculate the price per square meter and compare it with the market average;
  • Any risks associated with the property (flood risk, earthquakes, etc.);
  • The amount of taxes the owner paid;
  • Whether the city plans any projects that might involve the property, and whether extensions or major changes can be made on the site.

3. Make an offer to purchase

Prepare (preferably in writing) an offer to purchase the property and send it to the seller. The document must contain the price (offered by the owner or lower) and the validity period of the offer (usually set from 1 to 2 weeks). During this time, the seller must notify you of their decision. If the application is rejected, the seller may send a counter-offer, which the client can either accept or refuse.

4. Sign the preliminary purchase and sale agreement

This is not mandatory, but in order for a future transaction to take place safely, lawyers recommend drawing up and signing an act together with the owner, which will contain provisions important for the transaction:

  • contact details of the seller and buyer;
  • object address;
  • documentary evidence of ownership of property;
  • detailed description of the property;
  • amount of deduction for the specialist responsible for the sale;
  • selling price and terms of payment (with or without a loan);
  • validity period of the act and deadline for signing the final purchase and sale act;
  • what conditions may serve as grounds for withdrawing a purchase/sale offer;
  • date when the new owner will be able to move into the property.

This is a sample list. For more details, consult a lawyer or notary. Most likely, it will be necessary to pay a deposit, the amount of which will be discussed with the owner.

Within 10 days, the client has the right to refuse to purchase the real estate without giving a reason. If this period expires, the initiator of the transaction termination may be subject to fines, for example, compensation for property downtime, which will be up to 10% of the cost. Most often, the owner simply does not return the deposit.

5. Sign the contract

If everything goes according to plan and the transaction has taken place, a purchase and sale agreement is concluded in the presence of one or two notaries (representing each party). The keys are handed over after payment of the agreed amount and the previously mentioned notary fees.

While some countries (like Spain) simplify the process of obtaining a residence permit for non-residents purchasing property, French legislation does not offer such benefits. When considering a border crossing request, the consulate may take into account the ownership of property as a positive factor for the applicant’s financial standing, but nothing more.

In France, owning property does not grant a foreigner a residence permit or the right to apply for one through a simplified process. However, owning a house or apartment demonstrates significant purchasing power and the availability of means for subsistence. Property ownership can serve as a bonus when applying for a resident card or during naturalization.

To rent property, it is not mandatory to hire an agent, though they can be helpful as intermediaries since renting an apartment without residency can be challenging. Why?

In some cities, there is high competition for available housing, and landlords require guarantees (as mentioned above, evicting someone from a property is very difficult) of the tenant’s ability to pay rent, often preferring French nationals whose earnings are easier to verify.

Requirements for foreigners are stricter: they need to prove their identity, residency status, and financial capabilities.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent an Apartment or House in France?

According to SeLoger, a real estate website, the average rental cost per square meter in May 2024 was 13 euros.

The average price for a furnished apartment is 709 euros per month, while an unfurnished apartment costs 671 euros per month.

Renting a furnished house costs an average of 985 euros, while an unfurnished house costs 902 euros per month.

Renting property in Paris averages 27 euros per square meter for a house and 31 euros per square meter for an apartment, one of the highest rates. There are cheaper options: in Saint-Ouen, Limoges, and Le Mans, you can rent a house for as little as 9 euros per square meter, which is the lowest rate.

Apart from regular apartments and houses, foreigners in France can rent the following types of housing:

  • Social housing: In France, there are apartments allocated to assist citizens from other countries facing housing problems. These can be rented if the person has a residence permit, which is required to apply.
  • ADOMA residences: These are state-owned housing facilities for migrant workers or individuals in unstable situations (e.g., the homeless).
  • Temporary housing: Furnished rooms are available for people in need of temporary accommodation.

Foreigners can also receive housing assistance if they lack sufficient funds. The CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales) provides payments that cover part of the housing costs. The amount depends on the family size and income level. To qualify for CAF assistance, a foreigner must have a good reputation, a residence permit, and a signed rental contract.

Moving to another country and purchasing property there can create a sense of finding a new home. However, this often does not lessen the connection to one’s birthplace, especially if close relatives remain there.

The Korona mobile app helps maintain connections with loved ones. It is a service for sending money transfers from Europe to over 50 countries. By sending money to support family members regularly, during holidays, or in difficult times, we maintain closeness and show our involvement in their lives.

The Korona app makes the money transfer process clear and simple, and it does not charge a fee for transactions with currency conversion. It can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. To learn about transfer conditions, simply log in using your phone number.
In our blog, we write extensively about life and work in Europe. If you are interested in this topic, read our other articles.