• 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
Where property prices have risen most in France
Photo: AFP

You might just have been priced out of the market if you're looking to buy in Bordeaux.

Official Paris refugee camps to open end of September
Photo: AFP

Will this see an end to the squalid makeshift camps that spring up across the city?

Paris Metro takes on 'air hostesses' to promote safety
Photo: RATP/Screenshot

Did you see the "air hostesses" on the Metro this week?

Paris region doubles security budget for schools
Photo: AFP

France is prioritizing the protection of schools amid a heightened terror threat.

All you need to know about changes in French schools
All photos: AFP

School's back tomorrow, with a raft of new changes. Here's what you need to know.

Emmanuel Macron the next French president - Really?
Emmanuel Macron: The next French president? Photo: AFP

Can the 38-year-old maverick and former Rothschild banker really become the president of France in eight months' time?

€50 million of coke found in Coke factory in France
File photos: Owen Blacker/Flickr and Adrian Scottow/Flickr

Employees have sniffed out 370kg of coke in a French Coke factory.

Morocco's king drains water supply from French villages
King Mohamed VI of Morocco. Photo: AFP

King in town + 300-strong entourage = no drinking water for a French village.

Macron vows 'to transform France from next year'
Photo: AFP

Ex-Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron sets his sights on the presidency albeit without saying so.

French PM suggests naked breasts represent France
A statue of Marianne at the Place de la Republique in Paris, with her left breast on show. Photo: AFP

Just as the burqini ban furore was dying down French PM Manuel Valls has stirred things up again for suggesting naked breasts were a stronger symbol of the Republic than a Muslim headscarf.

Culture
16 things you almost certainly didn't know about France
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Politics
Emmanuel Macron: The whizzkid who could shake up French politics
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
2,753
jobs available