Parisians have made Calvados their favourite weekend destination.With its authentic ports, villages, and mansions, the region’s prices have soared in recent years. Despite a slackening off, truly outstanding properties maintain their value.

Very optimistic” is how Gérard Saint-Albin, director of the agency Pierre Flore in Deauville, feels about the high end market in the Calvados, “both for the last quarter of 2007 and for 2008.” Why? "Because demand is still strong from serious customers who have the capital but are developing more sophisticated tastes.” But “there is a slowdown in demand and a slight drop in prices for small farms and rural longères of between 120 and 200 sq. m., at around the €400,000 to 700,000 mark.

They are selling poorly because they have been overrated. My feeling is that the market does very well when the value is right,” argues Grégory Boitard, Director of the JB Boitard Immobilier agency.

“Customers are familiar with the local market, including foreigners. So we have to be able to justify the price tag.”

Only two hours from Paris

Two hours from the capital, it is hard to beat Calvados for a combination of blue sea and green countryside.This is a hit with a customer base that is “almost 90% Parisian”, says Luc Seffray, of the Emile Garcin agency, “and mainly from the central and western arrondissements”.

The remaining 10% is divided between provincials and foreigners, mainly Northern Europeans. While there is a distinct trend towards staying on the spot for up to six months or even a year "especially among people near the end of their working lives”, emphasizes Gérard Saint-Albin, the secondary residence market is still leader.There has also been a growing phenomenon of people returning to their family homes in recent years.

Deauville and Normandy

Yet “what is most in demand are the fine neighbourhoods in central Deauville”, observes Luc Seffray. “It is almost impossible now to find an Anglo-Norman style villa with 250 sq. m. of living space and an 800 sq. m. garden at a price of €1million: demand is far outstripping supply”.

For Grégory Boitard, “an apartment in very good condition right on the seafront is selling for around €7,500 the sq. m. In the town centre usually terraced houses of 100-120 sq. m. with a small garden go for €600,000 for, and up to 3 to 4 million euros for truly outstanding properties.” Wherever you go the property shortage is driving up prices.

Five thousand seven hundred euros the sq. m., including parking is the going rate at Icade- Capri for its “On the docks” residential development that has been commercialized for a year and is due for delivery in the second quarter of 2008.The properties include three fishermen’s houses and 28 apartments extensively renovated in Normandy style, located right opposite the Deauville marina.