Abu Dhabi-based Al France Property, part of the French conglomerate Groupe LB Immobilier, sees a 10% increase in property sales from GCC investors in 2014, following strong last quarter results in the previous year.
In 2013, Al France Property reported sales of €11.5 million from GCC investors across its property portfolio in France and Geneva, with Emirati nationals accounting for 50% of the total sales, with Kuwait and Saudi investors share at 29% and 21%, respectively.
Marie Mahmouch, General director, Al France Property attributes the strong sales from the UAE to an ongoing economic boom in the Emirates which has helped to heighten the interest and affordability to invest in France, which in 2012 reached a massive €1.3 billion in total investments across a range of business sectors, including the property market.
“The UAE is currently witnessing a resurgence in its economy, propelled by its victorious bid to host the World Expo 2020, the Dirham’s strength vs the Euro, along with of course the continued strong trade relationship the UAE has with France. With the factors mentioned above along with record low interest rates in mortgages, we have seen an increase in the volume of sales by Emiratis in our regions of France by more than 20%, since 2012,” she added.
Marie Mahmouch sees the next wave of investments to be concentrated in France saying, “We started selling in Paris in the beginning of 2013 and Paris at this moment is really interesting for Emiratis. We do not sell properties in Paris for nationals of Kuwait or KSA for the moment. This will come at the end of the year with a new project.”
The French real estate firm, which has also established an office in Kuwait, is optimistic about its prospects in the Gulf region as it launches a regional roadshow that will showcase its property portfolio in France to investors from the UAE, and later on, to buyers from Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
According to Marie Mahmouch, France continues to be an attractive property investment hotspot and its reputation remains unsullied. She explained, “Over the last few years, buying property in France has become a popular investment alternative for many people, be it for a permanent move, a second home, or a long-term holiday let. It is also easily accessible to GCC nationals, who see a holiday home in France as an extremely practical and logical investment.”
France has enjoyed significant interest from UAE investors, starting with the late Father of the Nation, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his love for the breathtaking landscape of the French Alps and lakes of the Haute Savoie, where the beloved UAE leader acquired residences to enjoy during the summer in areas such as Evian and Thonon. This in turn started the growing preference for Emirati’s to visit here and own a holiday home, which has continued through a generation.
She notes that Al France Property’s success in the region is due mainly to its unique advantage of being French property experts, and thus being able to give clients a high level of experience and professional advice, as well as having a direct presence in the region.
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