Olivier Rouvière is co-manager of the Rouvière Immobilier group with his brother Grégory. Based in Lunel, the group owns six Century 21 franchises in Gard and Hérault. Maintenance.
Is the Covid effect on the real estate transaction boom in Lunel and Lunellois?
From a French point of view, indeed, 2021 is a record year. We were more than a million transactions before the Covid and we risk exceeding them. And the Lunel sector follows the trend knowing that in the Pays de Lunel we are growing both in terms of prices and the quantity of transactions.
This is the same trend we see in the city. Today, according to notaries, the average selling price of a property in Lunel is the same as in Marsillargues when it dropped just before the crisis. And the city is as in demand as the Lunellois: the opening of the Pem and the announced ventilation of the city center are not for nothing. The average basket, however, remains lower than in Montpellier.
Given the demand, do you manage to have enough goods?
The catalog is smaller than it was 7 or 8 years ago, but before we had mandates but no buyers. Today, it is clear that the key axis of the real estate agent is more to obtain sales mandates than buyers. But beware of the latter, even if interest rates are low, it takes a contribution and healthy records. 110% credits over 25 years, that no longer exists.
What is the average time between sale and compromise currently?
We turn around two and a half months when we were at a hundred days. The lead time is getting shorter because we have more buyers and fewer sellers. But again, even if the number of buyers is high, sellers must stay within market prices. We have extremely greedy salespeople. However, buyers are not stupid, they learn a lot on the internet.
What are the most sought after properties in the area?
Without a doubt the small detached house around 80-100 m2 with a plot of 450 m2 and between 200 and 300,000 €. This is what is sold in Lunel as in the Pays de Lunel. The average purchase price is 215,000 €. In the city center of Lunel, there is demand but no corresponding offers.
Here, the strong axis in the future will be the secure senior residence with an exterior and car parks and student residences. Some have purchasing power and others, thanks to the multimodal exchange hub, can live in Lunel and study in Nîmes or Montpellier. And they will bring downtown to life.
What is the profile of buyers at Lunel?
Contrary to what we hear, many come from the Pays de Lunel. In fact, there are a lot of elderly people who are looking to get closer to shops, who are looking for single-storey accommodation or apartments with little maintenance and a bit of luxury. Afterwards, we also have young buyers aged 25 to 35, a postponement market. These are young people who come from Lattes, Mauguio or Castelnau and want a larger villa with a garden and cannot buy it in these towns where these goods are becoming expensive. Note that we are at 85-90% on residential purchases and 10% on purchases by investors. We see that for the latter, Lunel becomes attractive.
What are the most sought after areas in Lunel and in the Pays de Lunel?
In the Pays de Lunel, we see that the municipalities that have shops are more in demand. For Lunel, individuals ask for the northern districts. For the moment, there is no real excitement in the heart of the city because major works and urban renewal projects have not yet started. But if tomorrow, buyers and investors have more visibility, we see that people no longer say “I want everything except Lunel”.
Without asking yourself to read the coffee grounds, do you think the current boom in transactions is sustainable?
I pray it lasts. We have been growing for 7 or 8 years. In fact, there is no real reason for the trend to turn around. Especially since we realize that, even despite the crises, purchases and sales continue. In addition, we can see that Lunel has regained its attractiveness and that our region is very special: it is the cheapest region in the South and in the sun.
Now we have to find a system of balance in towns and villages between attractiveness, people’s living environment and controlled development.