“The activity has been insanely strong over the whole period since the start of the year,” Mr. Kraft said. Foreign buyers, mostly from the United States, have begun to re-enter the market, following a wave of domestic pandemic buyers. And he noted a second trend: Younger buyers, whom he characterized as dual-income couples in their 30s, 40s and 50s, are also diving in.
“I think due to the pandemic, a lot of the younger people realized that a second home doesn’t need to be the second home of their parents, which would perhaps be, in France, a grand old house that needs a lot of work and restoring, and that is perhaps very posh and grand but needs a lot of upkeep,” he said.
These younger buyers want to upgrade their lives by relocating or buying second properties with modern amenities and easy maintenance. They’re more interested in travel than in investing in real estate, Mr. Kraft said: “I call this new wave of buyers the Airbnb generation.”
Coastal properties in most parts of the region start at 750,000 euros ($790,000), with luxury homes on Île de Ré starting at around 1.2 million euros ($1.26 million), said Joanna Leggett, the marketing director for Leggett International Real Estate. On the nearby Île d’Oléron, as well as in the neighboring coastal areas of Rochefort, Marennes and Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, apartments cost around 200,000 euros ($211,000) and single-family properties start at 450,000 euros ($475,000).
“Those that may be selling a million-euro apartment in Paris could easily afford a beautiful home/villa or seafront property in this area,” Ms. Leggett wrote in an email.
Who Buys in La Rochelle
Thanks to its mild climate and exclusive inventory, the La Rochelle area “is a particular favorite of the French,” Ms. Leggett said.