In a particularly complex real estate market, castles are not doing badly. At the end of the annual report of the Mercure Forbes Global Properties group, a network specializing in prestige and character real estate, in a very present niche. the castles, we learned that the brand sold 104 of these heritage homes last year. It is certainly less than in 2022 (the group recorded 113 sales in this niche), but it remains a more resilient activity than others. Knowing that the group also sells apartments and houses in the town and in the countryside, it shows an overall decrease of 19% in transactions by 2022.
“Demand for houses remains strong and the drop in prices is less in the provinces than in Île-de-France”, group CEO Olivier de Chabot puts it into perspective. Strangely for this brand, which is based in Toulouse, sales in the north of the Loire accounted for 60% of sales this year, without explaining this trend better than those in the south. Another clearly identified trend, as with other luxury chains: the high-end faces the best with prices that are still safe from decline.
Combining these different characteristics, castles strengthen their weight in Mercure transactions, which accounted for 40% of the total sales in 2023, compared to 34% the previous year. On the other hand, if buyers seem more motivated than ever, prices are unlikely to rise. “Homes for less than one million euros sell very well, as long as the price matches the condition and location of the castle, explained Olivier de Chabot. Then between 1.2 and 1.6 million euros, more or less liquid remains but beyond that, there is a glass ceiling. Last year the group only made 11 sales above 2 million euros.
As for buyers, they are more French than ever with 80% of the total. “We find the historical and natural customer of heritage lovers, remembers Olivier de Chabot. And with them, new buyers, more pragmatic and wealthy, who, beyond the architectural features of the property, are interested in its profitability for a real business project, be it around an event, or around the agricultural or viticultural activity. These profiles often come from the business world.’ On the other hand, post-covid customers who wanted to try this rural adventure melted like snow in the sun. Although, for some, they have already put their property up for sale, because the transplant has not taken root with this new way of life. “A property that sells too soon is the worst situation for us, acknowledges the head of the Mercure group. Then the buyer necessarily thinks there is a wolf, even if it isn’t.