Rental Investing In Paris

How To Maximize Your Returns In One Of The World’s Most Solid Rental Yield Markets

The rental market in Paris has shifted. Last year, when the euro was strong, tourism was down. The short-term rental market suffered.

Today, the Greenback has about 20% more buying power in this part of the world than it did a year ago. Tourism is up sharply, and short-term rentals are back in demand.

Meantime, thanks to la crise, as the French refer to it, many apartment owners in this city have been struggling. With fewer tourists on the scene over the past 18 months or so, landlords did what they could to attract long-term tenants. Business people flow steadily through this city, often with their families in tow during their 3-, 6-, or 12-month placements. More apartment owners fighting to attract a piece of this executive rental pool has translated into falling pricing. Mid- and long-term rental rates are down and more competitive than they’ve been in a long time. On the other hand, again, though, this season, with more travelers coming and going, tourist rentals are up, in terms of both occupancy and price.

This is the advantage of a diversified market like this one. While one market segment softens, another becomes more interesting.

Which is one big reason why I recommend an apartment in Paris as a solid long-term yield play. All markets cycle, including the apartment-rental market in Paris. As in any market, you’ll see ups and downs, but you won’t have to worry about your return flat-lining. You may have to adjust your pricing, but, if you’re flexible, you’ll find a tenant.

Our apartment in Paris has been part of the city’s rental pool for the past two years, since we took our leave for Panama City. We found an initial tenant no problem at a rate that made Lief very happy.

By the time that eight-month rental finished, the market had begun to turn. La crise had taken hold, the dollar was down.

“I can find you a new tenant,” Linda, our rental manager, assured us at the time, “but you’ll have to be willing to negotiate a little on the rent.”

No problem, we told her. The main thing is to keep the place occupied and the yields flowing.

She did. In the 16 months since, we’ve had two other mid-term renters, the second of whom vacated last week. Each of these paid less in rent than did our original tenant, but not dramatically less.

Linda asked to meet with us upon our arrival this visit. She wanted to talk about how to make our apartment more rentable following our departure.

“I think we should make a change,” she explained. “Long-term rentals are tough right now. It’s a renter’s market. You won’t be able to charge enough to make the effort and the wear-and-tear on the apartment worthwhile.

“However, there are many tourists looking for short-term rentals right now and through 2011. I can get you as much in two weeks on the short-term market as you’d earn per month renting long-term.

“You’ll need to make some adjustments to the apartment, though. You’ll need to buy another television, and I think you should add a small table and chairs in the kitchen, a place for people to eat quickly and casually. Short-term clients don’t cook or dine formally in the apartment. They want a place to take croissants and coffee in the morning. Otherwise, they eat out.”

Taking stock after having been away for two years, we see that we also need to paint and to carry out some minor repairs.

We’ll make these further small investments in the property with the hope that they’ll pay off in greater rental yields over the coming 12 to 18 months, perhaps substantially greater. Linda believes she’ll be able to get us short-term occupancy of at least three weeks per month.

Meantime, Lief is off to the hardware store to buy paint. And I have an excuse to go furniture shopping.

Kathleen Peddicord

French Course Online

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