INTERNATIONAL investors are flocking to Paris hoping to invest in office developments for the first time since the recession hit France more than two years ago. Interested buyers include British investors such as Hammerson, MEPC, Slough Estates, British Land and Schroders and US groups such as investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Hammerson and MEPC are appointing European directors to take charge of their investment programmes and intend to start their buying spree in France, followed closely by Spain. The new focus on office investments is a boost for the market which has been in the doldrums. Office properties have been the major casualty in Paris, with values falling to as little as 50 per cent of 1990 values. Yields are difficult to define with few open market transactions taking place, said Charles Taylor, head of investment at WG & S. 'A good office building in central Paris, fully let and with no third-year break (the French property market has a three, six, and nine-year lease structure) at current rents would attract interest at six per cent or slightly lower,' he said. 1994-95 is being tipped as the time to buy good office buildings in central Paris and in the immediate western suburbs. La Defense, the large office development one kilometre west of Paris, will be increasingly in demand as buyers take advantage of contra-cyclical purchases at the scheme. Jim Beveridge, European chairman at British-based property company MEPC, said he was looking hard at offices in Paris and hoped to buy next year. 'There is more product coming to the market and vendors' expectations are coming closer to reality, finally,' he said. Write-downs of as much as 50 per cent have now been made, finally making the properties more marketable. At last count, the banks have made 40 billion French francs (about HK$57.2 billion) of bad debt provisions on their holdings.