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Up to 12,000 people desert Paris each year

Avenue de l'Opera, central Paris
Avenue de l'Opera, central Paris ©Wikipedia

Paris may be one of the most visited capitals in the world but living here is becoming increasingly unpalatable. Around 12,000 residents are moving out every year in favour of cheaper suburban areas and the provinces. And the trend is set to continue.

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In the latest study by INSEE (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) the number of people residing in Paris is steadily decreasing annually.

Between 2011 and 2016, 59,648 residents left the capital: the equivalent of the 5th arrondissement, an district in central Paris.

That still leaves 2,190,327 inhabitants and the capital still feels overcrowded so there's no cause for tears. But the trend is predicted to last to at least 2025 when the millennial generation will reach adulthood and start thinking about settling down.

Lower birth rates, higher housing prices

There are several explanations for the mini-exodus. The first is linked to birth rates which in Paris have fallen from 31,940 in the early 2000s to 28,384 in 2016.

This is partly because the 'Parisiennes' begin having children slightly later in life (at 33) and have fewer than for those in suburban areas.

Then there’s the question of finance. Real estate is expensive in Paris, new-build is limited due to shortage of land and you can’t extend the city beyond its walls (the infamous ring road known as the péripherique).

There are currently more buyers than sellers and prices have rocketed as a result. In 2018, the average price per square metre for a three-room appartment was 9,500 euros; in 2006 it was 5,650 euros.

The price of rented accommodation has also shot up, pushed by the same phenomenon of supply and demand. So when families start to outgrow the capital’s characteristic pokey flats with no lift or garden, they turn to the suburbs or other large towns for bigger flats at affordable rates.

Airbnb effect

The growth in Paris of holiday rental platforms has also had a big impact.

“Short-term holiday rentals to tourists is further limiting the opportunities of find accommodation” INSEE’s Olivier Léon told Le Parisien.

65,000 central Paris appartments have been advertised on Airbnb since 2015. It’s become such a problem that Paris City Hall has made tackling Airbnb one of its priorities.

“We have reached crisis point,” Emmanuel Grégoire of Paris City Hall told Le Parisien. “These rentals weigh down the housing sector and push up rents, but also increase speculation to buy because the returns are considerable. In fact it amounts to the spoliation of real estate for the benefit of investors.”

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