I have been reading Fred Wilson’s blog for over a decade now (and he has been blogging for almost two decades). A lot of the time it is about venture capital and tech, but similar to what I do here, it can be about almost anything. Today he wrote about the two weeks that he just spent in Paris with his wife (the Gotham Gal). And the post covers everything from real estate to relationship advice. But here are two points that will be particularly relevant to what we usually talk about around here:
- Paris has done an excellent job of prioritizing cycling and building a ton of new lanes over the last number of years. We know this. But another good point that Fred makes is that Paris has allowed competition in their micro-mobility ecosystem. It started with Velib, but now you can also use Dott and Lime. The last time I was in Paris I used Lime bikes and scooters, mostly because I already had the app and because they were everywhere. Competition is good and Toronto should probably allow the same. Our bike share system — specifically the mobile app — is incredibly cumbersome to use, and the last time I checked most of the e-bikes were consistently out of service. Let’s see if someone else can do a better job. We should, of course, also add scooters to the mix while we’re at it.
- Next, Fred describes Paris’ real estate market as being more “stable.” And by this he means that, for whatever reason, values and rents seem to be more moderated. This has some benefits. Restaurants and other retail businesses seem to stick around for decades, whereas according to Fred, “it’s hard to find a shopping street in Manhattan that doesn’t have multiple vacant stores”. I’m not exactly sure why this is the case in Paris (assuming it is). I don’t believe that they have any sort of vacant store tax. Though they do have a tax on unoccupied homes. Maybe this is just what happens when you’re a little less capitalistic. (This is me deliberately avoiding the term socialism.)
If any of you have more insight into the real estate market in Paris, I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.