For more than 80 years, Groupe Mercure has had luxury and heritage real estate at its heart. Offering a complete selection of distinctive properties and prestigious residences throughout France, Groupe Mercure is driven by its reputation and roots. Adapting to the evolution of the business, Groupe Mercure is guided by the values of trust, respect for traditions, honesty and professionalism. Based out of Toulouse, the firm consists of nine additional agencies that are based in large French cities, offering a presence throughout the country. Here, CEO Olivier de Chabot provides a glimpse into the current state of the luxury market.
Please describe your current housing market.
Olivier de Chabot: We currently have nearly 2,000 properties scattered throughout France, with a portfolio made up of properties that fall into a variety of categories: urban, countryside, seaside, mountainside, Chateaux and design. With an average home price right around $1 million, we’re seeing prices rise dramatically in popular areas, including the French Riviera and large cities like Paris. Prices in more rural areas are rather stable at the moment.
Tell us about the types of properties in your market and which are most popular.
ODC: While we sell properties in multiple categories, historically, we’re best known as Chateau specialists, which are our most popular properties. We also sell a lot of character homes that are full of history and charm.
What types of buyers do you work with? Are they predominantly local, or mixed from other countries?
ODC: Most of our buyers are predominantly local and French, but we also work with foreign buyers who are British and Dutch. The composition of our buyers has changed in recent years as we’ve concentrated on attracting buyers from Europe and neighboring countries. With the help of LeadingRE, we’re able to attract buyers from countries all around the world, which is a real bonus for us.
What are some of the most important trends in your market?
ODC: As previously mentioned, the rising prices we’re seeing in large cities is the most important trend in our market at the moment. Not only is the price-per-square-meter dramatically increasing, but, also, there’s much more demand than there is to offer.
What are your biggest challenges/opportunities for growth?
ODC: Our history and anchoring position us to be leaders in the rural market, but the challenge we face in various popular areas such as the French Riviera, Cote Basque and even large cities is accessing new business—as these are areas where our competitors are strong.
How does being part of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® help advance your business?
ODC: Our affiliation with LeadingRE is extremely beneficial to our business, as it allows us to be present worldwide, which increases the number of customers we work with—buyers and sellers alike. Being part of LeadingRE also provides us with new opportunities in terms of markets, marketing and selling tools. When working with partners on referrals, they offer us cultural guidance on how to best adapt to their clients. It’s also beneficial in that it allows us to meet real estate professionals from all over the world.