Paris / France House Prices

The longest history for house prices in the world, is for France, and in particular Paris, a city that has been a major centre for trade and civilization for many hundreds of years. House price data for Paris starts in 1200, and continues up to today.

Three generations of French economists working a century apart built this rich history.

  • Georges d’Avenel (1855–1939), laid the foundations when, at the end of the nineteenth century, he began investigating transaction prices in Paris from 1200 to 1800, averaging them to produce estimates of property prices in twenty-five-year intervals.
  • Gaston Duon (1908–2005), a researcher at the French statistical office during the Second World War, built on this. Duon gained access to property registers kept by the tax department and was able to construct an index for the centre of Paris in ten-year increments from 1790 to 1850. And with richer data for more recent years, he was able to calculate a year-by-year index from 1840 to 1944.
  • Jacques Friggit, a civil servant in charge of housing research, has brought the work up to the present day. He has connected the previous indices to those which are now calculated on a rolling basis by the French statistics office.

Over eight hundred years of wars, famines and revolutions that have seen empires come and go, kings and queens lose their heads, invading armies march through the streets. Bringing together this treasure trove of data and relating it to house prices gives a fascinating picture. Key points include:

  • The slow growth in house prices over many centuries
  • The current boom in house prices
  • The decline in house prices between the First  World War and the 1950s due to rent controls

Links

The key source for historical house price data in France is the CGEDD (conseil general de l’environnement et du developpement durale) and the work being led there by Jacques Friggit. The starting page for english readers is

http://www.cgedd.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/home-prices-in- france-1200-2011-r137.html

The very old data for 1200 – 1840 from d’Avenel and Duon. It should be used with caution given its age and the fact that the nature of the housing market has changed a great deal over the centuries.  The data can be found in the following publications:

Histoire économique de la propriété des salaires des den- rées et de tous les prix en général depuis l’an 1200 jusqu’en l’an 1800 (Imprimerie Nationale et Ernest Leroux), Duon, G. (1943), Évolution de la valeur vénale des immeubles parisiens, Journal de la Société de Statistique de Paris

Or can be found on-line via the CGEDD at

http://www.cgedd.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/doc/house-price-index-Paris-and-others-secular_cle7fed11.doc

http://www.cgedd.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/xls/valeur-immobilier-1800-2010_cle2cc2f8.xls

Comparing four secular home price indices, CGEDD Working Paper, Version 9 (www.cgedd. developpement-durable.gouv.fr/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=138 ).

To look at Jacques Friggit’s comparison of houses versus other investments, look at

 Friggit, J. (2007), Long term (1800–2005) investment in gold, bonds, stocks and housing in France – with insights into the US and the UK: a few regularities, CGEDD, Version 4.0.