Paris: 26 percent of city centre homes lie empty

Evie Burrows-Taylor
Evie Burrows-Taylor - [email protected]
Paris: 26 percent of city centre homes lie empty
Rue Montorgueil in the city's 2nd arrondissement. Valerie Hinojosa/Flickr

An overwhelming 26 percent of homes are empty in the French capital's 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements, a new report shows.


The report by The Paris Urbanism Agency (APUR) shows that a quarter of housing in these four central Paris arrondissements is vacant - amounting to 20,300 homes. 
This compares to an average of 15 percent empty homes across the rest of the capital. 
While the problem certainly isn't new, it is getting worse, according to the report, with the number of vacant homes in these four areas experiencing a sharp increase. 
Between 2008 and 2013, there was a 1.3 percent rise in amount of empty housing in the central four arrondissements compared to a rise of 0.6 percent across the capital. 
The situation is particularly worrying in the 2nd arrondissement, where the number of empty homes shot up by 6 percent during the 2008-2013 period, and the 4th arrondissement, where 29.8 percent of homes are currently vacant.
Elsewhere in the French capital, figures are far lower.
In the 12th arrondissement for example, the number of empty homes is at 10.8 percent, while in the 19th and 20th arrondissements statistics show 10.3 percent and 8.5 percent of homes are empty, respectively.  
The Town Hall has already started taking measures to stop the phenomenon by introducing a tax on second homes.
Initially set at 20 percent two years ago, it was increased to 60 percent in January. 
"It's the only leverage we have in terms of encouraging owners to rent their properties," says Ian Brossart, who works for the housing department of the Paris Town Hall. 
"It's a really worrying issue, it's not normal to have 200,000 empty or semi-occupied homes. It represents twice the housing available in a big arrondissement like the 18th." 
The initial results of the measures will be known during the coming year and Brossart did not exclude the option of increasing the tax if the current 60 percent rate has not been fruitful. 
The online rental industry has been linked with leaving certain areas of cities empty and is considered the root of daily disagreements around problems caused by people "moving in" temporarily. 
Earlier in August on a surge in fines imposed on owners renting their Paris apartments out on Airbnb, with the number increasing tenfold during the first half of 2017, thanks to more rigorous monitoring. 



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