‘Brittany is not a second home!’: Separatists lash out at property speculators

A group of Breton nationalists has denounced the number of second homes in Brittany, launching a campaign against "real estate speculation" in the region popular with British holidaymakers and home owners.

'Brittany is not a second home!': Separatists lash out at property speculators
Erquy on the bay of Saint-Brieuc in the Cote d'Armor, Brittany. Photo: AFP
The group, called Dispac'h (or “Revolt”) in Breton has denounced the “real estate speculation related to the development of second homes” on the Breton coast.
“Brittany is not a second home! Villages in ruins, the youth in exile,” say posters by the group (see tweet below) which have been attached to empty homes in the region.
The first wave of posters started appearing in March in Saint-Malo on the site of a private 5-star hotel by the sea as well as in other Breton towns popular with tourists and second home owners, many of whom are British.
“We want to educate both residents and elected officials on the regulation of secondary real estate,” spokesman Ewan Thébaud from the Dispac'h group, which describes itself as “'separatist”, told Le Figaro.
“What we want is to challenge local elected officials on the fact that there is no tool to regulate the inflation created by second homes,” said Thébaud.
People play on the beach of Saint-Michel-en-Greve on the Pink granite coast, on the Cotes d'Armor, Brittany. Photo: AFP
According to the group, 40 percent of homes on the Breton coast are second homes. 
The group says that “housing has become inaccessible to those with low incomes” and denounces the dependence of Breton coastal towns on the tourist economy, with “villages left lifeless for more than half of the year” which is leading to the “disappearance of public services”. 

And holidaymakers might be loath to find out that the group's views are backed up by the figures. 
According to a study conducted by notaries Notaires de l'Ouest in 2017, 82 percent of new apartments sold in Brittany were second homes.
And some Breton towns are more impacted than others. 
For example in Carnac (see below), one of the towns more affected, 72.7 percent of dwellings are second homes.
Carnac on the Breton coast. Photo: AFP
Mayor of Carnac Olivier Lepick however has tried to reassure holidaymakers.
“The locals are very happy to sell their house to Parisians for a high price but then complain about not being able to stay,” he told Le Figaro.
“Secondary residents contribute significantly to the economic well-being of the town,” he said. “Wanting them [tourists] to leave or taxing them would be tantamount to shooting ourselves in the foot.” 

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Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

Installing a swimming pool, building a garden shed, or adding a conservatory to your French home has become more expensive in 2023.

Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

If you are planning a renovation project in 2023 you’re likely looking at rising cost for materials and labour due to inflation – but there is one other cost to consider; taxes. 

In France there is a one-off tax that has to be paid on certain building works, and the government has raised the rate for this.

The taxe d’aménagement, sometimes referred to as the garden shed tax, applies to all property development – construction, reconstruction and extension – of buildings that require planning permission or a building permit.

Garden sheds, swimming pools or extensions with a surface area of more than 5 square metres are subject to the development tax – although a 50 percent reduction is applied to the flat-rate values of certain buildings, particularly the first 100 square metres of main residences.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about installing a swimming pool at your French property

The tax is collected by local councils, who set their own percentage rates for the tax, working off the base rate set by the government.

A decree published in the Journal Officiel set the base figures for 2023 at the following rates: 

  • €1,004 per square metre in Île-de-France (up from €929 per square metre in 2022);
  • €886 per square metre outside Île-de-France (€820 per square metre in 2022).

The flat-rate values per square metre of building space, which constitute the basis for the development tax, are revised on January 1st of each year according to the latest construction cost index published by national statistics body Insee. 

Additionally, specific rates are set for:

  • €250 per square metre  for a swimming pool (up from €200 in 2022);
  • €12 per square metre of ground-fixed solar panels (up from €10 in 2022);
  • €3,000 per wind turbine more than 12 metres high;
  • €3,000 per pitch for tents, caravans and mobile leisure homes;
  • €10,000 per pitch for a holiday chalet or bungalow.

The amount of the tax is calculated according to the following formula: 

(Taxable area multiplied by the government-set base figure) multiplied by the percentage tax rate set by the local authorities. This gives the total to be paid in cents. Bills are rounded down.

So, the tax for a 30 square metre extension in an area where the combined local and departmental tax rates total 6.25 percent would be calculated like this:

30 (the size of the development) x 886 (the base tax rate outside Ile-de-France) = 26,580

6.25 (local and departmental tax) x 26,580 = 166,125 cents, more usually expressed as €1,661. 

If the total payable is less than €1,500, you will receive a bill in the six months after planning permission was granted, with details of how to pay.

Otherwise, it is paid in two instalments, 12 months and 24 months after authorisation, with a 10 percent surcharge applied in cases of late payments.

READ ALSO The hidden costs of owning property in France