Buying Paris real estate as a second home is the perfect way to live the French lifestyle. More and more, expats are looking to retire permanently in the capital too.

But what are these buyers looking for, and how is the advent of Airbnb affecting the market?

In this new interview, we speak to Kerstin Bachmann, Owner and Managing Director of 56Paris, about her thoughts on the current market for our international clients.

International clients have different needs

Are international clients looking for a second home, a rental investment, or both?

Kerstin: Of course, every client is different. But for the most part, international buying clients aren’t typically looking for a rental investment opportunity. Instead, they are looking for an authentically Parisian second home they can enjoy, where they can live like a Parisian with local neighbors and spend time with their friends and family. 

This kind of buyer knows Paris extremely well and wants to take part in everyday life, to enjoy the many cultural events, the cuisine and the fashion. They want to discover the city’s hidden treasures and to have their children and grandchildren enjoy a bi-cultural upbringing and education.

If they do decide to, is it easy for them to rent out their apartments short term?

Kerstin: Since the 80s, short-term rentals in Paris is a business concept that isn’t allowed in residential housing. Essentially, short-term rentals are not possible in residentially zoned buildings and the existing laws are increasingly enforced

To find out if short-term rental is nevertheless practiced in a building, it is key to work with a reliable search agent who represents a buyer’s interest and researches the building’s situation before the purchase. This is where 56Paris can help.

If our international clients do intend to rent out, perhaps on a longer term when not using their Parisian homes for a while, they want to find tenants who – like themselves – wish to spend several months or more in the City of Lights as an expat, a student of one of the many universities, the fashion or Cordon Bleu schools, an intern at an art gallery, a professor on sabbatical, or just to take time off from where they live.

Short-term rentals and buying Paris real estate

Despite the restrictions on short-term rentals, Airbnb and others do operate in Paris. How has this affected the property market for expats?

Kerstin: With the growing popularity of short-term rental in the 2000s, the city began drastic measures as early as 2009. By 2014 they had set up the tools to crack down on it by enforcing existing laws and creating new ones, taking legal action against Airbnb and short-term rental property owners and fining those who didn’t respect the laws.


The city does so not only by the hotels or those who could no longer find affordable housing in Paris, but also by the affluent traditional French residents, who didn’t want to see their residential buildings used like hotels.

How do your international clients feel about short-term rentals in their buildings?

Kerstin: When speaking to clients past their purchase, we realize they appreciate the best of both worlds: Living the French experience, but in an international environment.


They want to enjoy a property with French-style features, renovated to a high standard where the floors don’t creak, the windows shut, and the heaters work well. While they wouldn’t want to be surrounded by short-term rental apartments, it is a trade-off they accept to a certain extent if it means they are more likely to find people they can communicate with and that they are not singled out as the only non-French homeowners.

When we asked an American couple that has retired in Paris, they said they actually appreciate the fact that there are occasional short-term rentals going on in their building, because it means they meet other Francophile English speakers they can connect with.

Has the short-term rentals market affected the property market in any way?

Kerstin: The crackdown on short-term rentals has had no effect on property prices. As a point of reference, prices have gone up by 28% since 2014. This is due to the traditionally limited inventory combined with an invariably high demand we see in the capital.

Most of our clients feel attracted to the historic center of Paris in order to find themselves surrounded by likeminded, refined, internationally-oriented French families. The latter love the cosmopolitan influence that international homeowners bring to the city. They appreciate and respect them as long as they respect their tranquilité (peace and quiet).

Living the pure Parisian experience

Finally, do you have any other advice for those who are considering buying Paris real estate as an expat?

Kerstin: I would recommend that you try to be at least moderately fluent in French. That will ensure you live the pure Parisian experience, and get the best out of your time here.

Now is the perfect time to start brushing up on your French language skills! 

56Paris are here to help you

If you are thinking about buying Paris real estate, we are here to help.

Our team can advise on every aspect of the property market, whether you are looking to purchase a second home, or are making plans to retire in the capital. Please don’t hesitate to contact the experts at 56Paris today.

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