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HOUSING

‘Earn €4,500’ to buy a property in France

Thinking of buying a property in France? Well you might want to take a long hard look at the state of your finances first. A new study shows the average French home-owner earns €4,500 a month and is aged 37 or over.

'Earn €4,500' to buy a property in France
Property is priciest in the French capital. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP

While it’s no news that snapping up a property in France can be an expensive business – particularly in the capital – a new study published by the price comparison website Empruntis.com paints an overwhelmingly bleak picture of the French property market.

The fact is that owning a property is fast becoming a luxury for most people in France.

With the average French property priced at €220,387, buyers earn on average €4,500 a month, €800 more than nine years ago, the study revealed.

This is in spite of the fact that less than 20 percent of French households earn over €4,467 a month, according to a study conducted by Insee in 2010.

SEE ALSO: Tenant sues landlord over 1.56m² Paris flat

Demand for property, meanwhile, remains high.

“We still love bricks and mortar,” Maël Bernier from Empruntis.com told Le Parisien. “Owning a roof over our head is still our favourite investment.”

Moreover, the study showed that the average buyer was aged 37, showing an age increase of three years compared with nine years ago, an suggesting millions of younger would-be buyers are being pushed out.

Unsurprisingly, property is at its priciest in Paris, with the average home costing €8,331 per metre squared. There, €220,387 would typically get you an apartment measuring just 26 metres squared.

Looking for a flat in Paris? Check out our ten tips for finding an apartment in the capital

In the southern city of Nice, meanwhile, the same sum would get you an apartment twice the size, approximately 56 metres squared.

And in Rennes, north-western France, that money would buy you a property measuring 94 metres squared.

Looking for a place to rent in France? Have a browse through The Local’s rental section

Are you struggling to get your foot on the French property ladder? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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PROPERTY

The post-Brexit tax rules on selling second-homes in France

British second-home owners in France who want to sell their properties are being warned of an extra layer of administration - and expense - in place since Brexit.

The post-Brexit tax rules on selling second-homes in France

Brits wishing to sell property in France may now need to appoint a représentant fiscal (tax representative) in France in order to properly declare the sale to French tax authorities. 

Who?

This law applies to people who own property in France but do not live here – mostly that would be second-home owners but it could also apply to, for example, anyone who has inherited property.

This requirement has always been the case for non-Europeans such as Americans, Canadians and Australians and now also applies to Britons since the end of the Brexit transition period. People who live in another EU or EEA country are exempt.

The law is based on residency, not nationality. So if, for example, you have your main residence in the UK but have an Irish passport, you would still be covered by this requirement.

Exemptions

As well as EU residency, there are a couple of other exemptions;

  • If you sell your property for less than €150,000
  • If you have owned the property for more than 30 years (in which case the sale is exempt from capital gains tax and social security contributions).

What is a représentant fiscal?

This is simply a representative for tax purposes in France, and the person does not need specific qualifications in law or accountancy.

The following can be appointed:

  • A company or organisation already permanently accredited by the tax authorities;
  • A bank or credit institution operating in France;
  • The buyer of your property, if they are domiciled in France for tax purposes (they do not need to be a French citizen);
  • Any other individual who is domiciled in France for tax purposes (they do not need to be a French citizen) – in this case they will need to be accredited by the local authority;
  • If the property is in Paris, the individual will need to be accredited by the Île-de-France tax authorities – département de Paris-Pôle gestion fiscale Centre-Missions foncières, 6 rue Paganini, 75020 Paris. Tel: 01 53 27 46 45

If you decide to appoint an individual rather than a company as your représentant fiscale, bear in mind that the process can be quite complicated, so it would be better to check that they are confident in dealing with the tax authorities, to ensure that you don’t end up with unfinished business with the tax office.

If you chose a company, they will naturally charge for the service. 

Whichever representative you chose, you will need to provide a dossier of documents relating to the property sale and also confirming that you are a tax resident of a country outside France (tax returns, banking information, for example).

Will you have to pay tax on the proceeds of the sale?

If your main residence is not in France, you have no other income in France and you do not complete the annual French tax declaration you will not usually have to pay tax in France on the proceeds of the sale, provided your total estate is worth less than €1.3 million.

Properties worth more than €1.3million may be liable for the impôt sur la fortune immobilière (property wealth tax).

You will of course have to declare the income from the sale in the country where you are resident and, if applicable, pay capital gains tax.

What about French property taxes?

If you have owned property in France you will have been paying the taxe foncière and taxe d’habitation.

These will cease, but bear in mind that taxe foncière is charged based on who owned the property on January 1st of the relevant tax year. So if you sold your property in February 2022, you will still get a tax bill in autumn 2022 to cover that year. Only the following year will the new owner become liable, unless the sale contract for the property included an agreement to share or split outstanding taxes.

Find more information on the Internationals section of the French tax office website HERE or pay a visit to your local tax office in France. Find your local office by searching ‘Centre des Finances publiques’ plus the name of your commune – tax offices are open to the public on a walk-in basis and the staff are usually friendly and helpful. 

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