The second-hand market is now the major part of the housing market. It developed only recently, in the wake of home ownership. It was long neglected by governments and economists, until the Notaries established the databases that allow to calculate the “Notaires-INSEE” house price indexes and to provide information on the nature of traded dwellings and on stakeholders in the transactions.
The cycle that started in 1998 can be described in detail using the Notaries databases. Unlike the previous one, it is characterised by soaring prices throughout the country, albeit not uniformly, at least until 2008. Only after the crisis a strong differentiation emerged between large metropolitan areas, starting with the Paris region, and the rest of the territory. A large share of the price increase can be explained by easy and cheap credit. The proportion of quick resales grew during 2005-07, leaving suspicion of speculative behaviours. The role of foreign buyers should not be overestimated : among natural person buyers, fewer than one in forty on average is a non-resident alien.