Price per m2: the most attractive regions for companies
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Price per m2: the most attractive regions for companies

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The office property market remains particularly dynamic and marked by strong tensions.  Companies are competing for the best located and developed sites: in the past 10 years, the average lease has seen an increase of 28% [1]. The main reasons for this is an imbalance between supply and demand, technical infrastructures that are increasingly expensive to build and the constant rise in the cost of land.

The growing popularity of working from home and new forms of collaboration are now prompting many companies to consider the cost of property per job and to study new ways of making savings: setting up in a cheaper region, reducing the leased surface area, etc.

So which regions are the most appealing for setting up or relocating a company? As a prestigious partner for professionals and project leaders in Maritime Flanders and the Dunkirk area, Dunkerque Promotion provides you with the essential information.

The Île-de-France and large cities are the most expensive

The big cities and urban areas are home to a large part of the country’s economic activities, so they could be a logical place for you to set up your company. However, they also have major disadvantages, including much higher start-up costs.

  • With the average lease costing €512 ex. VAT per square metre per year in August 2021, Paris remains an extremely expensive city to have an office [2]. The prestige of an address within the Boulevard Périphérique (Paris’s ring road) would be disproportionately expensive for the majority of investors. You should also remember the constraints of having a business in the capital, particularly in terms of transport and logistics.
  • The Île-de-France region has contrasting prices, depending on the level of demand and the quality of the economic infrastructures in the area. The annual lease for an office amounts to €302 ex. VAT per square metre per year in the Hauts-de-Seine area and €177 ex. VAT per square meter per year in the Seine-Saint-Denis area [3]. The inner and outer suburbs of Paris are also an interesting alternative for companies wishing to remain in the Île-de-France so they can be near their clients and even their suppliers.
  • The majority of regional cities also have reasonably high set-up prices. Average annual lease per square metre for an office has reached €208 ex. VAT in Lyon, €207 ex. VAT in Bordeaux, €169 ex. VAT in Rennes and €179 ex. VAT in Nice [4]. As one of the regional capitals, Lille stands out for its moderate prices, at €173 ex. VAT per square metre per year [5].

All the major city centres, not just Paris, give you concentrated logistical and transport infrastructures, plus various services to help develop your business. However, these advantages have notable drawbacks, such as:

  • Traffic congestion, leading to risks when it comes to travel and delivery times.
  • The high cost of living and housing, which may discourage a job applicant or increase the cost of labour.

Boxed text: What is a “commercial property”?

Commercial property or corporate real estate is related to the purchase, sale and lease of property by companies. In practice, this notion brings together a wide range of properties with different characteristics. So the rates charged and the occupation conditions will not be the same for:

  • An office in the city centre
  • A service premises or workshop for a micro-enterprise or SME
  • A practice for a professional activity
  • A hangar or warehouse
  • A retail space
  • An industrial premises

The best solution: medium-sized cities near major roads

Some medium-sized French cities have a number of advantages, including: 

  • Widely available land
  • Tax incentive schemes (special tax concession zones, rural regeneration areas, etc.) which can lead to significant tax exemptions
  • The proximity and traffic flow of major roads
  • The quality of the living environment for employees.

The cost of commercial property  can be half as expensive as in large cities. An average office lease, for example, currently costs [6]:

  • €136 ex. VAT in Compiègne
  • €127 ex. VAT in Villeneuve d’Ascq near Lille
  • €113 ex. VAT per square metre per year in Limoges
  • €113 ex. VAT in Clermont-Ferrand
  • €118 ex. VAT in Beauvais
  • €119 ex. VAT in Bron in the Lyon region
  • €118 ex. VAT in Mauguio near      Montpellier
  • €90 to 120 ex. VAT in Dunkirk.

Hauts-de-France: attractive corporate real estate

Conducted in 2016, a comparative study of site operating costs by Nord France Invest indicates high levels of competitiveness for commercial property in the Hauts-de-France region.

With regard to the tertiary sector property (offices and back offices), if the city of Lille has a base score of 100, then comparatively speaking property operating costs reach an index of 125 in Lyon, 169 in Plaine-Saint-Denis and up to 275 in La Défense. Conversely, the indicator goes down to just:

  • 83 for Compiègne
  • 80 for Amiens
  • 70 for Beauvais
  • 66 for Valenciennes
  • 63 for Arras

On a European scale, Lille’s tertiary property market is also more affordable than other nearby cities such as Rotterdam (117), Brussels (135), Hamburg (159) and Amsterdam (195).

Concerning other types of commercial property, the region is just as attractive. Compared to Lille, Dunkirk has a relatively low index of 85 for logistics property and 90 for industrial property leases.

So why not choose Dunkirk?

 At the heart of Maritime Flanders, the Dunkirk and Côte d’Opale area is the ideal place to set up a company and has a number of advantages including:

  • France’s third largest port complex
  • A strategic location in the centre of the Paris/Brussels/London triangle
  • High quality transport infrastructures (motorways, railways, riverways, etc.)
  • Widely available land
  • Support programmes or tax exemption schemes for business creation and establishment, etc.

Commercial and professional property in Dunkirk is particularly affordable. Office leases cost between €90 and €120 per square metre per year, excluding VAT [7]. When it comes to service premises, they can be easily found for a rate of €70 to 90 per square metre per year excluding VAT[8].

The different types of building and land available include [9]:

  • Tertiary property (office spaces, open offices, etc.)
  • Logistics infrastructures (warehouses, buildings with unloading platforms, etc.)
  • Industrial sites
  • Service premises
  • Workshops
  • Coworking spaces
  • Business parks with land available on request

Created in 2020, the new major industries area in Dunkirk-Port covers a total of 125 hectares. It has the huge advantage of offering “turnkey” sites, with pre-validation of all administrative procedures (town planning, preventive archaeology, environment, etc.) [10].

Dunkirk’s commercial property naturally benefits from the proximity of one of France’s largest port complexes. Located in Loon-Plage, the Dunkirk International Logistics Area is very close to the container terminal and freight services to Great Britain. It has a total surface area of 140 hectares and 130,000 square metres of warehouses already [11]. In an exceptional location, this site has attracted numerous logistics companies including D Fresh Logistics, DHL, DUNFRESH, DUNFROST, Logistique Dunkerque and even TLN.



Are you looking for land or a building where you can develop your business at the heart of Europe and close to the continent’s busiest trade routes? Maritime Flanders and the urban area of Dunkirk can provide you with numerous opportunities and are characterised by a wide availability of land.


Dunkerque Promotion, the local business development agency, is the leading intermediary for your commercial property project in the Hauts-de-France region. We’ll study your specifications, propose the most suitable land or property solutions, then organise a joint visit to the selected sites.

Key points to remember:

  • The Paris region and the major regional cities require a greater financial effort when it comes to setting up a commercial property.
  • Medium-sized towns and regions undergoing economic revival, such as the Hauts-de-France, offer abundant and available land.
  • The Dunkirk area is particularly attractive because of its infrastructure and support facilities for finding a building or land.









[8]    Source: client comment




Price per m2: the most attractive regions for companies

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