It is of course much too early to have a clear conviction of the different economic scenarios or prospects, or of the evolution of the high-end real estate market on the Basque Coast, but the idea is rather to provide you with additional reading to allow us to better understand your real estate, purchase, sale or rental projects.
The real estate market, in the first quarter of 2020, until March 16, had shown great dynamism, without showing any sign of slowing down, on the contrary. Covid-19 and containment have put an abrupt halt to this euphoric market for the time being.
Prior to confinement, and without having foreseen the physical constraints that we would encounter when working, we fortunately invested in new tools allowing us to ensure continuity in our work.
To date, Barnes Cote Basque can rely on the dematerialization of certain visits, and the digitalization of its business processes:
- Multiplication of virtual tours by the Matterport tool
- Digitization of sales mandates to compensate for the lack of physical contact with a certified electronic signature (and electronic register of mandates
- Virtual appointment booking solution for estimation by videoconference
- Digitization of e-reputation via blockchain, to ensure complete authenticity of customer reviews submitted following transactions
- Conference / webinar organized next Thursday and hosted by an economic journalist from Figaro
Our entire team remained “on deck”, available by phone, video, and e-mail to respond to various requests and alleviate certain concerns in this unprecedented context. We are proud to have been able to sign mandates remotely, to carry out virtual tours, and to receive offers, two of which were even accepted!
The good collaboration with our notary partners has made it possible to carry out most of the sales promises, or ongoing sales that take place by electronic or rotating signature.
But everything is not always simple: the exceptional nature of the period requires the extension of certain deadlines: orders have been issued to this effect, thus delaying certain acts, sometimes by several months.
In addition, and in a very concrete way, certain deeds that could have been signed in recent weeks were simply delayed by the stoppage of the work of the removal companies. While each of the parties can understand this case of force majeure, this delay in signing the deed of sale requires solutions to be found, and for all parties to sign extensions.
The case has not arisen since the start of containment for our current sales, but we know that some banks have outright suspended the processing of new loan files, overloaded by the files received during the 1st quarter, and by the very marked priority to support VSEs or SMEs. This brings an additional delay to finalize current or future sales.
The real estate development community is also hit hard, in France as in the Basque country, where new new real estate projects respond to a certain demographic pressure. Construction sites are at a standstill, building permits on standby while the municipalities concerned await the end of the municipal elections, postponed until the fall.
Faced with these many uncertainties, on the completion times of current projects, on the evolution of the market and on the probable changes in our lifestyles, many questions arise. The biggest risk is probably the wait-and-see attitude, and the "real estate standstill". We cannot predict a fall in prices, but the vagueness in which we are, and the major economic crisis to be expected, with numerous bankruptcy filings, risk giving slack to the market: those who will need to sell relatively quickly will have to withdraw. distinguish by a more attractive price, (if the property is not differentiated by several "main assets" such as the view / remarkable architecture, the absence of noise / opposite).
But no one can predict how supply and demand will balance, or determine price developments in the short and medium term.
In fact, from mid-March and the announcement of confinement, we observed an explosion in demand for seasonal rentals to come and be confined to the Basque Coast. No request was (fortunately, or unfortunately?) Able to be successful during the confinement period ... because the owners also preferred to live in confinement in their house around Biarritz! We continue to have sustained demand for this summer, but the lack of visibility is prompting a good number of owners of rental homes not to want to commit to renting, in order to keep the option of taking advantage of this " refuge ". Vacation home tenants, who until now have “praised” the freedom to change location every year, realize that this freedom is not, as they cannot be sure that they will have a pleasant place to stay. their vacation… or more if affinity!
This period of confinement will have had the merit of making us aware of the importance of being at home, both in its interior and in its living environment. Choosing a healthy environment, with indoor AND outdoor space becomes more than a luxury, it becomes a necessity.
Townhouses close to the beaches and downtown restaurants, so sought after for the past ten years, could thus face competition from houses offering more outdoor space, even if they are located 5 or 10km from the coast. The requests that we have been receiving over the past month make us feel this trend.
We will all have tried remote working, and for many I hope, discovered that it may be possible to envision a different life. If the stock markets remain volatile and uncertain, we can at least give real estate, and even more so to "premium" real estate, as much the term of refuge, as of safe haven.
The main opinion studies carried out recently (Seloger study published in the JDD of 19/04 or Figaro Immo study of 23/04) show that the French are clinging to real estate and intend to resume the course of their project (or remain active in their research). A new trend is also showing the desire of customers from large urban areas to come and settle in their second home ... or buy one. The quality and art of living on the Basque Coast are (unfortunately?) No longer a secret for anyone, and the attractiveness of our region could make it possible to withstand this announced crisis.