Real estate in Aix-en-Provence or Marseille: which city to choose?

Real estate in Aix-en-Provence or Marseille: which city to choose?
french real estate marseille


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According to FNAIM, Marseille recorded around 13,000 real estate sales in 2020. This is much more than its rival Aix-en-Provence with 2,243 transactions. Aside from the number of real estate sales, which city is the most attractive in terms of real estate?


Marseille: real estate prices catching up

According to the LPI-Seloger barometer, the price per m² in Marseille has risen 7.3% over one year and now stands at €3,277. Archik, a real estate and local architecture agency confirms this trend. “Since January 2021, we have seen a monthly increase in sales prices in ‘the Phocaean city’ (+10% in 6 months),” comments Amandine Coquerel, founder of ARCHIK.

This increase is undoubtedly due to the effect of the lockdown measures which has pushed city dwellers to move closer to a more pleasant living environment by choosing the Mediterranean seaside thanks to the rise of telecommuting. “60% of our customers in Marseille are Parisians who fall for a property whose price per square meter is three times lower than that in Paris, and then entrust us with their property for sale in Paris,” Ms Coquerel explains. In fact, real estate prices in Marseille are still far from those in the capital and the big cities on the French Riviera like Nice for example which is only 2 hours by car and where the cost per square meter is €4,491.

Thus, Marseille is now in a transitional market, with a rise in prices, particularly for properties with outdoor space, apartments with balconies or terraces, houses with gardens, in attractive districts such as the 6th, 7th, and 8th arrondissements or districts. And naturally this results in a reduction in sales times and in the amount of negotiations, as Archik specifies.

Real estate prices are increasing at a very sustained rate in certain districts and for certain types of property such as 2 or 3 room apartments which are the most popular (72% of rental searches). This is also the case for properties for sale in the 8th district (Les Chartreux, La Blancarde, etc.) and the 4th district (les Goudes, Bonneveine, Montredon, etc.) with a 13.3% increase over one year for apartments in the old district. But the price differences remain very significant from one district to another, since in the 8th district the average cost is €4,470/m² compared to €2,896/m² in the 4th district. Note that some arrondissements in the northernmost districts are losing ground. These include the 3rd (-9.7% over 1 year), 12th (-7.2% over 1 year) and the 14th arrondissements (-11.4% over 1 year).

Despite this excitement, it is a just catching up of the market in phase with the attractiveness of a city that has long been underrated, as Archik reminds us.

Apart from apartments, houses, villas and private mansions are in high demand, particularly in the Prado, Périer and Roucas-Blanc districts for either primary or secondary residences.


Aix-en-Provence: attractive rental yields

20 minutes north of Marseille, the city of Cézanne attracts students, young workers, retirees and non-residents. There are therefore many tenants looking for housing and future buyers.

The real estate market in the Aix-en-Provence region is also very tight. Real estate in the city sells very quickly and this market is just like Marseille, boosted by Parisian investors who are looking for good rental yields 3 hours by the TGV train from Paris.

As part of a rental investment, the Facultés and Duranne districts represent good opportunities since they attract many students. Rental demand is therefore strong for studios and F2-type (one bedroom) shared apartments. Investors are therefore almost certain to rent their property continuously by buying apartments that are less expensive than in the city centre. Annual rental yields are therefore good with an average purchase price of €4,134/m² in the university district according to the SeLoger barometer.

The average price of real estate in Aix-en-Provence is €4,862 and in the downtown area (Opera, Mazarin, Bellegrade, and the City Hall district) and it can reach up to €5,261 for properties with an excellent location. In districts such as Jas de Bouffan and Tanneurs, prices are lower (€3,416/m²).

Exceptional properties are also highly sought after. The luxury private homes and high-end apartments in charming buildings are concentrated in the city centre. Bastide-type manor homes, farmhouses and other properties full of character on the outskirts of the city are also in great demand.