the French can buy 60 m2 on average.

How many square meters can you buy with your income, and can you buy a home as large as it was ten or twenty years ago? A study carried out by the Meilleuragents advertisements site over the last fifty years indicates that the real estate purchasing power of the French has been maintained since 2017 and that it is currently possible to buy 60 m2 for a median disposable income equivalent to 2,525 euros, against around 30 m2 In the 1980’s.

“We wanted to check what we hear everywhere: the price of housing is so high that it has become impossible to buy. But, once the study was carried out, the results surprised us ”, says Barbara Castillo Rico, head of economic studies at Meilleuragents.

The purchasing power of real estate depends on real estate prices, but also on the evolution of income and the rate at which one can borrow. In 1982, purchasing power was low and interest rates high (18%): the median income made it possible to buy 24 m2 only. In the 1990s, incomes increased more strongly (+ 16%) than prices, which remained stable (1%) with interest rates that fell to 9.3% in 1993 and 5.2% in 1999. In that year, households could buy an average of 64 m2.

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According to the calculations of the ad site, since 2017, real estate prices have increased by 14.5% while income has only increased by 11.2% at the same time. However, historically low interest rates in recent years, averaging less than 2% over twenty years, have allowed buyers to borrow more cheaply, which has offset price increases. This is what makes it possible to arrive at an average purchasing power of 60 m2.

Significant variations between regions

Over the past two decades, the evolution of real estate purchasing power seems to have deteriorated according to other studies. Notaries estimate that between 1999 and 2019 it decreased by 13%. In addition, it varies greatly depending on the region where one wishes to acquire. With the same income, it is possible to buy 50 m2 in Ile-de-France but 180 m2 in Limousin.

In 2019, the last barometer established by the notaries indicated that the real estate purchasing power in the Ile-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions was the lowest, between 50 m2 and 60 m2, due to very high real estate prices and high demand. These regions are followed by Aquitaine, Rhône-Alpes and Languedoc-Roussillon, where it is possible to buy 90 m2. Conversely, it is in the North-East, with the exception of Alsace, and in Limousin that purchasing power is the most important: it is almost three times that of Provence-Alpes. -Cote d’Azur.

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In Limousin, it is possible to buy 176 m2, in Burgundy 148 m2 and in Champagne-Ardenne 150 m2. Metropolises have been particularly affected by the rise in property prices and it remains difficult to buy there.

In an overview of real estate prices over the past ten years, Nexity recalls that prices in Paris have increased by more than 56% between 2010 and 2020, a growth which has led the price per median square meter to cross the symbolic bar. 10,000 euros in 2020. In ten years, prices in Lyon have increased by 67%, 48% in Rennes, 40% in Nantes and Strasbourg, and even 73% in Bordeaux.

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In these large cities or in areas in high demand such as Aquitaine, Meilleuragents estimates that buyers have lost around twenty square meters between 2000 and 2021. Even if the situation is better than in 1984, the feeling that it does not is not possible to buy housing with a sufficient surface if one perceives that the median income is thus well confirmed in the facts.

Meilleuragents study: number of square meters that can be acquired by a single person with a median income through mortgage loans (excluding personal contributions). The debt capacity was calculated with a debt ratio of 33% over a period of twenty years. The median income used is that of INSEE in 2021.