French property slump costs 10,000 jobs

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PARIS: A slump in the French property market has cost 10,000 jobs and forced 10% of the country’s 30,000 estate agencies to close, the president of the National Federation of Estate Agencies, Jean-Francois Buet, said on Tuesday, warning that the market could contract further.

The fall comes as France struggles to cope with weak economic growth owing to the effects of the financial and european debt crises, and its own economic problems.

He said excluding new homes, the number of home transactions had fallen to 805,000 in 2011 and 655,000 in 2012 from a record of 829,000 in 2005, before the financial crisis. He warned that the number of sales might fall even further to 600,000.

“It’s an extremely strong fall, more than the one following the sub prime crisis,” he told a press conference, referring to a crash of a housing bubble in the United States which triggered the recent financial crisis in 2008.

“We haven’t been in a speculation bubble and the prices won’t collapse,” he said.

He held that prices were being supported by a shortage of housing and historically low interest rates for home mortgages.

His federation estimates that in 2013, the prices of homes would be steady or fall by a maximum of 2.0% from price levels in 2012. — AFP

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