• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Corsica wants crackdown on holiday home market

Ben McPartland · 8 Aug 2013, 14:44

Published: 08 Aug 2013 14:44 GMT+02:00

The issue of holiday homes on the Mediterranean island of Corsica has always been an explosive issue.

Over recent years second homes owned by wealthy Parisians and others have been targeted in a bombing campaign waged by nationalists and environmentalists protesting against the influx of property speculators.

And this week Paul Giacobbi, head of Corsica’s Executive Council, planted an incendiary device of a different kind by proposing to put limits on anyone from outside Corsica who wants to buy a house on the so-called “Island of Beauty”.

“If you can buy property as easy as chocolate on a supermarket shelf, we are headed for disaster,” Giacobbi said.

Giacobbi argues that property speculators from Paris and beyond, desperate to get their hands on land or a home on the picturesque island has skewed the property market and inflated prices that are now out of reach for ordinary Corsicans.

"I am not against foreigners"

Giacobi told The Local on Thursday it was time to take action.

“We have been studying this issue for three years. What we have found out is that half the new houses built in Corsica are second homes which is causing a real problem.

“It’s time we had some kind of regulation and asking people to live here for a certain amount of time before they are allowed to buy a property is a good way to do it and a very good way of ending property speculation in Corsica.

Giacobbi, who gave recent interview to The Local about threats made against his life, also proposed making certain parts of the island out-of-bounds for non-residents.

“We have to have a balance or you will only have very rich people who can buy homes in Corsica. I am not against rich people but it is dangerous and very unfair if local people cannot afford to buy a roof over their heads.

The leader of the Executive Council rejected that his proposal stemmed from any motives of Corsican nationalism aimed solely at antogising mainland France.

“I am not against foreigners. My family and wife come from abraod. Corsica is a land that welcomes foreigners," he said.

"People from France could come and buy land, if they want to settle here, the problem is if they want to buy land or a property just to be here for one month each year and then put our property market in great trouble.

One story for Paris another for Corsica

Giacobi did however accuse the Paris based media of double standards in the way the reaction differs when wealthy foreigners buy property in the French capital.

“When a rich foreigner, from Qatar for example buys a historic property in Paris, it’s a national drama and people claim it needs to be halted by the law, but they never say the same for Corsica," he said.

“When the heritage of this island is up for sale and someone comes in from abroad and buys 3,000 hectares, they say well Corsica is an open market,” Giacobbi adds.

Story continues below…

Giacobbi accepts that not everyone on the island will be pleased to hear his plans because many locals are only too happy to sell their properties to foreigners at inflated prices.

The politician accepts he expects plenty of opposition to his idea, not least from lawmakers in Paris and Brussels but he has vowed to take it forward.

“After three years studying this is issue, we can see that it really is necessary and we will discuss it with the relevant French and European authorities,” he said. “I don’t think this regulation will be against the free movement of people throughout Europe.

As expected his proposal has already been met with firm resistance.

Marie-Dominique Roustan-Lanfranchi, from the association Corse-France said: "We must stop thinking that Corsica is alone in the world.  

"Why should we always be treated differently from other regions? This is an unconstitutional project contrary to the law of property, which violates equality of all before the law." 

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
Photo: AFP

The Brexit vote has prompted a mixed bag of reactions from the French public.

Opinion - Brexit seen from abroad
'Today it's hard not to feel ashamed to be British'
Photo: AFP

Apologies France, we may have just messed up your country too.

Brexit
French in UK: 'Brexit vote is clearly against foreigners'
The French Bookshop in London's Kensington. Photo: AFP

Spare a thought for the French people living in the UK right now. They didn't even get to vote.

Hollande: Brexit vote 'a grave test for Europe'
Photo: AFP

President Francois Hollande said on Friday that he already regrets the UK's "painful choice".

Brexit - Property
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
A house of sale in La-Faute-sur-Mer (Vendée). Photo: Frank Perry/AFP

The dream move to France may have to be put on hold or simply dropped.

Brexit
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Brits won't be forced home, of course, but are forced to live in limbo for a while. Photo: AFP

So what happens now for Brits in France? Nothing too dramatic, but a lot of uncertainty amid legal limbo.

Brexpats on Brexit
Brexit: Life for Brits in France will get more complicated
Will France still be paradise for British expats after a Brexit? Photo: Simon/FlickR

After Britain voted to leave the EU, here's a look at what an EU legal expert had to say about the possible knock on effects for expats in France.

France up next? Le Pen hails Brexit and demands vote

Friday's historic Brexit vote has sent tremors across the English Channel, where the political class had mixed reactions to the news that the UK had voted to leave the EU.

Worried after Brexit? Here's how to become French
Could it be time to become a French citizen? Photo: AFP

After the UK voted for Brexit, many Brits in France will no doubt explore the possibility of becoming a French citizen. Here's some guidance.

Brits in France left stunned after UK votes for Brexit
Photo: AFP

After the UK voted to leave the EU and the pound was sent crashing, British nationals living in France have been left stunned and concerned about the future.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
And the best football fans of Euro 2016 in France are?
National
Paris has wettest spring in 100 years and it's hitting morale
Police murders remind France of complexity of terror threat
National
IN PICTURES: Labour law protests in Paris turn ugly
National
Double murder just latest jihadist attack on French police and soldiers
International
French police appear unprepared for hooligan threat at Euro 2016
Sport
An A to Z guide of what to expect in France for Euro 2016
Sport
France bans matches from being shown on cafe terraces
National
Readers' views: 'If Brexit happens I'm becoming French just to stay in EU'
Technology
Should this be the new Metro map for Paris?
2,734
jobs available