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IN PICTURES: The five places in France with the highest percentage of second homes

France has more second homes than any other European country, and there are a lot of places where a majority of properties are only inhabited for part of the year. Here's a look at five spots with the highest percentage of maisons secondaires.

IN PICTURES: The five places in France with the highest percentage of second homes
Do you dream of a second home somewhere sunny and French? Photo: wavebreak media/Depositphotos
France has 3.3 million second homes, representing 10 percent of the country's housing stock. 
 
That's four times more than Germany, and over the past five years, the buying of second homes in France has gone up 1.7 percent.
 
And it means that some of France's small, rural areas have far more temporary residents than permanent ones. 
 
Here's a look at five places in France with the highest percentage of second home owners in France, according to Le Telegramme
 
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Uvernet-Fours
 
The tiny town of Uvernet-Fours in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in southeastern France is so popular with second home owners that a whopping 92.3 percent of the properties there are owned by them. 
 
Photo:  Sébastien Thébault/Wikicommons
 
 
Orcières
 
Another small town in southeastern France, Orcières is located in the Hautes-Alpes department. A total of 90.5 percent of properties here are second homes. 
 
Photo: Nirv75/Wikicommons
 
La Fajolle
 
Still in the south of France but this time in the Aude department of the Occitanie region, La Fajolle is a beautiful spot to drink a cool glass of white wine during your summer holiday. But it's more than likely you'll be surrounded by others who have had the same idea, with 92 percent of the properties here owned by second home owners. 
 
 

Photo: CartesFrance.fr
 
La Faute-sur-Mer
 
It isn't only the south of France which is popular with second home owners, of course. The west of the country also has a high number of temporary residents during the summer season. 
 
A total of 85.2 percent of properties in La Faute-sur-Mer, a coastal town in the Vendée department in the Pays de la Loire region, are second homes.
 
Photo: Pantoine/Wikicommons
 
Vars
 
Nevertheless southern France does dominate, with Vars, a town in the Hautes-Alpes department in southeastern France dominated be second homes, which make up a total of 91.5 percent of the properties. 
 
Vars is famous for its ski resort and benefits from good weather in the summer. 
 
Photo: Gargantua/Wikicommons
 
However, not everywhere in France is in such high demand, which means there are bargains to be had. 
 
The Indre-et-Loire department in west-central France has next to no second homes and the nearby department of Loiret is similarly unpopular with second home owners. Who needs the sunshine when you can have peace and quiet?

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PROPERTY

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

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