Paris loses title as world’s most popular city among millionaires

The French capital has lost its spot as the favourite city of the ultra rich, deposed by Zurich, Copenhagen and Stockholm, a new property ranking shows.

Paris loses title as world's most popular city among millionaires
Paris' monuments and buildings makes it one of the most popular cities in the world. Photo: AFP

Rated the most popular city in the world among the ultra rich in 2019, Paris dropped down to 7th place in the 2020 ranking, outranked by top 10-newcomers such as Zurich, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Published by the real estate consulting firm BARNES International in its Global Property Handbook, the ranking reflected big changes in the global property market provoked by the Covid-19 health crisis.

Bordeaux, in south west France, made it on the top 50 list for the first time ever. This was partly due to the pandemic, which – by imposing remote working as the rule – had prompted many Parisians to move elsewhere, a Barnes representative in Bordeaux told French daily Le Parisien

Covid and 'yellow vests'

In addition to the pandemic, a string of episodes of social turmoil had marked the capital's image internationally the past couple of years.

“I'm thinking about the 2019 transport strikes, the 'yellow vest' crisis, and then the more recent Covid crisis and its repeated lockdowns, which made shops and hotels close,” Olivier Privincialle, deputy president of FNAIM Grand Paris, a union of real estate agencies in the greater Paris region.

“But Paris is a world city and should remain at the top of the ranking of the most attractive cities with some of the highest real estate prices thanks to its buildings and its monuments,” he told Le Parisien.

The study is specific to a multi-million market that only a small minority of people in the world are able to take part in – but which locals in Paris have long complained pushes up property prices and drives families out of the city.

An example is a Paris apartment near the Eiffel Tower measuring 407 square metre sold for the dazzling amount of €10.5 million last year – more than €25,700 per square metre (more than double the already sky-rocketing average price of €10,800).

Some 265,000 people in the world are considered high net worth individuals or ultra high net worth individuals, according to Barnes, which means they possess a wealth above $1 million dollars, or $30 million dollars (€25 million) for ultra high net worth individuals.

'Paris still rhymes with luxury' 

However, Paris' drop was relatively modest compared to those of other cities. New York, which came 2nd in 2019 fell down to 11th place in 2020 and Los Angeles plunged from 4th to 14th place.

“Even if the French capital has lost the head of the ranking, it remains in the top 10,” said Thibault de Saint Vincent, the real-estate president at Barnes.

That, he told Le Parisien was “a sign that Paris still makes people dream and rhymes with the words luxury and art of living.”

Other cities surged ahead, like Zurich, the winner, which jumped up from 30th to 1st place.
Copenhagen, which came second in the 2020 ranking, soared up from 35th place the year before and Stockholm moved up from 22nd to 5th place.
Seoul, the capital of South Korea, which had never before entered the ranking, found itself at all the way up at13th place in 2020.
Only a couple few cities remained at their spot from last year including Tokyo (3rd) and – despite Brexit – London (6th).

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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