The Paris Effect

L’herbe est toujours plus verte dans le pré d’à côté

The grass is always greener  on the other side

(Before we begin : if you want the effect of the music cues I put in this post, right click on them and open them in a new tab so that you can hear them while being able to continue reading. You can then close those tabs before opening a new music cue)

These are my meditations upon cultural awareness and integration in the city of Paris.

I recently read a blog post by Tory Hoen on HiP Paris blog that got me thinking it was time for a post of my own on what she calls “the Paris effect”.

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Le plus haut tu monteras, le plus bas tu descendras (part two)

The bigger they come, the harder they fall.

(Part two of a two-part rant about the cost of housing in Paris)

The average price of a square meter in Paris is 6680€ (this can differ greatly depending on the neighborhood… remember the spread-of-cancer illustration above? Sometimes it can hit 10000 or 12000€ per square meter. (For the Americans, 1 square meter = 10.7639104 square feet; so an average (livable) one bedroom apartment for one or two people can range from 35-60 square meters = 377-646 square feet)… but the average is just below 7000€ per square meter. Okay, so take these numbers and then go search on the websites with housing for sale, and you’ll find it’s slightly mis-leading!

Example  – let’s look at the fifth listed non-commercial result on Google when you search for “achat appartement paris” is TANEGO or

(According to our cancer-map above, the worst of it -in red- can go up to 12310€ per square meter… it looks like the 5th and the 6th arrondissements are the hardest hit.) Let’s go search for a one bedroom apartment in those neighborhoods with

Search results :

-There’s a 53 square meter one bedroom near the metro stop Censier Daubenton, a lovely little corner of Paris that’s about 9433€ per square meter… not near the average, but not at the wort predictions either.

-There’s another in the 6th in the Saint Sulpice quarter with 47 square meters for 685000€, that’s 14574€ per square meter!! Whaaat!!!!! This makes me want to jump in the Seine river.

-Another one at the Port Royal metro stop with 50 square meters at 9900€ per meter. Nothing near the average price…

Okay, fine. Let’s go look in some of the less-red neighborhoods that I know are decent places to live…

-A 50 square meter one bedroom in the 9th near the metro station Blanche at 9200€ per square meter…sigh…

-Another in the 9th with 49 square meters of space to enjoy at 12449€ per square meter…sighing louder…

-Here’s one in the 15th where the kitchen is actually a closet and you have 37 square meters of space (not a lot) at 8027€ per square meter… so I have to be willing to give up, spacious rooms, a kitchen and dinner parties for friends with space to make macarons in in order to have a slight drop in the price that still doesn’t even reach the “average”…

And what if I wanted to have a family? A Parisian one-bedroom is not large enough to have kids in. I need at least 2 bedrooms if I want kids. Let’s go have a look :

Still on this same site…

In the 4 neighborhoods that I have been looking at, to raise a small family I need to pay :

10314€ per square meter in the Saint Georges neighborhood for a 2 bedroom 70 square meter apartment

12068€ per square meter in the 6th Odéon quarter for an 87 square meter apartment (oh so I have an apartment that costs over a million euros, which also means I will have gargantuan taxes because I am apparently a millionaire if I purchase an apartment like this…so sorry kids, it’s soup and crackers until you are 18 and then you gotta move out and start working so we can rent out your bedroom to help with the bills. Oh and pay for your own college too, thanks.)

Well, I have HAD it, I am going to a different agency. Let’s try FNIAM. (Side note, their website is full of gambling advertisements… is this coincidental?)

After two pages of results in the 6th I found ONE apartment that has 2 bedrooms, the rest were studios or over glorified one-bedrooms, so I can be single and live in a studio in Paris (but then I only have one salary to pay for this very expensive housing, and according to Friggit we now need two salaries to pay for housing in Paris, besides no one would lend to a single buyer with a small average salary and little to no principal).

-okay so this one apartment has 2 bedrooms and costs 630000€ which is 11052€ per square meter, in the 6th arrondissement. Grrrrrrr….


-A little more relief with a 61 square meter apartment in the 9th at 7491€ per square meter, it has two bedrooms but the kitchen opens out onto the living room and they don’t include a photo of that… this worries me that it could be another closet kitchen.

Is there anything at the 6000€ per square meter range in these neighborhoods??? ANY???

-Oooh! LOOK! I found one at 3666€ per square meter! OMG!!!! This is unheard of! …wait. Oh. It is 6 square meters in total, and is just about the size of a bathroom with enough space to scratch your bum in. Oh and it’s below the legal size of rent-able space, so if you buy it, it’s an extra bedroom for your guests to squeeze into when they are in town (but they may prefer a hotel, honestly). It is what used to be used to house people’s maid, a chambre de bonne. And well, it’s so cheap because you can’t really do anything with it.

So noooooow I see, THIS is how they average out the prices. The livable apartments are over priced, but the un-live-able apartments are under-priced, per square meter. And therefore it makes the per square meter average slightly less than heart-attack range.

-Well ALMOST all of the unlivable apartments : someone else is selling a 6.1 square meters (ha! look at that…they precisely wrote 6.1 square meters…because you get SOOOO much out of the .1 amount of space); and this baby is gonna cost you 9836€ per square meter, now THAT’S called milking the system for all it’s worth. Sheesh!

It is a little hard to live in a 6 square meter “apartment” and impossible to raise a family, or even a plant probably.

SO, yeah… I think I have illustrated my point. The housing prices in Paris have reached rates that are choking normal class citizens up to the eyeballs, and something has GOT to give. I am hoping Friggit is right and the prices do drop significantly, but I would even go so far as to HOPE that they drop not a mere 30-35%, but 60-70%… c’mon! they would still be at a 70% high from what they were 10 years ago!

What Paris needs is REGULATION on the price per square meter, and more OVERVIEW OF RENTAL PRICES, because since most people can’t buy, they rent, but I haven’t even gone into those prices here…. I will save you the agony of that subject for another day.

Comments welcome!

Le plus haut tu monteras, le plus bas tu descendras (part one)

The bigger they come, the harder they fall.

(A two-part rant about the cost of housing in Paris)

It’s a known fact, real-estate in Paris is expensive, over the past ten years, the price of ‘old’ housing – meaning not newly built – has risen 140%… how can the country keep up? And more importantly, when is it going to crash?


The salary rates and the real-estate rates do not grow at the same pace. According to the INSEE statistics, the overall average revenue (of all sectors and in all types of housing – from sub-letters to property owners) in Paris went up 15 percent between 1996 and 2006. (I am having a hard time finding information for the past 4 years included, it seems they need to conduct another caucus). But here’s the hard part : The amount of their revenue that each household consecrates to paying for housing has gone up 27% in that same time period. The graph below demonstrates this point.



Housing continued on an ecstatic willy-nilly rise until 2008. The Friggit curve graph shows that there was a slight dip (this was around the crisis, remember?)… but it has bounced back up quickly and at an alarming rate. The Friggit curve was designed by a statistics guru named Jaques Friggit who specializes in real-estate. He publishes stats that calculate the rise and fall of housing prices according to what people earn. (By the way, the red line on this graph is for Paris proper). The left hand indicator is how many salaries per household it requires to buy and pay for housing.


Friggit graph

Mr Friggit has predicted a (much needed fall) in the price of housing, from now until 2015 or 2018 of about 30-35%. I would even hope for slightly larger fall, even if it does have some effects on certain sectors of the economy (those that rely on the nose-bleed hikes of housing prices) because the differences between what the average household earns and what the average house costs is too, too large.

The following color coded graph shows where the prices are the highest in Paris :

It looks almost like the spread of a cancer….

Xavier of the site  wrote recently about real-estate prices in Paris on his blog. He writes two things that are frightening to me…

1. That the price of housing in Paris has gone up 10% IN ONE YEAR ALONE (2010)! How do people survive on this kind of roller coaster ride. It goes to high too fast!

2. Oh… it’s not people who are surviving and buying, it’s INVESTORS… in other words speculators. Regular people can’t afford to buy in Paris anymore, only large companies, banks, monetary funds, and other speculators can. They’ll even buy out whole buildings, and sit on them, vacant while they wait for the price to skyrocket and can then resell for a huge profit, or they turn them into office space and push those who need housing further out into the suburbs. There is no mercy for the middle class in Paris anymore, let alone the more precarious classes.

If you aren’t rip-roarin’ mad yet, wait until part two is published where I will explore the numbers against the reality of the real estate agencies… (see part two to be published Nov 7th – as in : tomorrow).