Interesting thread. It seems the world is waiting to see how far prices will fall, including even the phlegmatic (property-wise) French.
Here's my experience in case you're interested:
We bought a flat in Nice three and a half years ago. Asking prices have appreciated about 40% since then, and remain steady. Nice is both a working city and a holiday destination with little room to expand, and prices have been pretty high there long-term.
In the last few months I have noticed many more properties appearing in agents' ads. Like about a four-fold increase. This may partly be simply because agents are feeling nervous (if not desperate) and so are working harder - a feature of the French property market is that properties for sale appear in many agents' adverts, as I think there's to some extent a free-for-all once a property is advertised. They get 4-5% on sales! Flats in Nice have in the time I've been looking generally tended to stay on the market for a good while before sale, but I've seen a few that have been up for six months or more, and new ones keep appearing.
So Nice is worth watching as a traditionally quite steady market under some downward pressure. It will be interesting to see how far prices eventually yield to this.
Rents in Nice by the way are quite high relative to non-Riviera locations... but are low relative to prices, and have not risen with the price rises I have mentioned. 800 euros a month will get you a quite nice spacious two-bed flat in Nice, just as it did four years ago - I wonder if this suggests some bubble qualities in prices? (for such a flat, typically about 280K euros is being asked now). Wages are not that high in Nice, though, and many lets are to students, which I think tends to keep rents steady.
Our flat is let but we actually intend to live there eventually; I wouldn't recommend Nice as a buy-to-let opportunity at current prices. But then of course you'd have to be brave/foolish to buy any property anywhere just at the moment unless forced to by circumstances.
Edited by librarising, 07 May 2008 - 12:13 PM.