The building land market: prices rose nearly threefold between 2000 and 2018

A land study is a prerequisite for any land management and planning operation. Land ownership is the underlying asset for housing, agriculture, nature reserves or economic activities. The prices of


The building land since the 2000s

A land study is a prerequisite for any land management and planning operation. Land ownership is the underlying asset for housing, agriculture, nature reserves or economic activities. The prices of older properties and new builds in mainland France increased by 115% between 2000 and 2018. During that period, building costs increased by only 50%, so the rise in property prices can also largely be explained by the rise in land prices. Knowledge of land prices is thus essential for an analysis of the property market. In that respect, economic and demographic trends have naturally influenced the land market. Building land has become scarce due to high demand for housing in urban areas, and regulatory planning rules, which have facilitated or curbed the availability of building land, and modifications in land taxes or the improvement in financing conditions for 10 years, are some of the factors that make the land market a market in perpetual motion.

However, the 2008 property crisis marked a turning point. Since 2009, the "urban clusters" (large and medium-sized conurbations) have stood out. They are gradually clawing back market shares in terms of volumes of sales (31% in 2018) at the expense of rural areas (18% in 2018). At the same time, whereas price rises were higher in rural areas, the trend reversed from 2009 onwards, with more favourable price rises in the urban clusters.

In mainland France, the difference in prices from one department to the next confirm the importance of the location of land in explaining disparities in land prices: since the crisis, the market has been increasingly heterogeneous and geographical disparities have increased. An analysis of the distance of plots of land from the nearest municipality of 50,000 inhabit-ants can, moreover, provide an approximation of the impact of the proximity of services and amenities on prices: while its impact has changed little over time, land in peri-urban areas is more influenced by this characteristic, con-firming the value of nearby services and amenities. Finally, between 2000 and 2018, the Notaires-Insee indexes of prices of older properties in mainland France (excluding Ile-de-France) have doubled. And yet, the data in this study shows that land prices tripled between 2000 and 2018. The trends thus show that land performed better than buildings prior to 2010.


Breakdown of sales of building land by location


The major cycles of changes in prices on the building land and older property markets