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PROPERTY

Property in France: A weekly roundup of the latest news and talking points

Whether you're contemplating taking a step on the French property ladder or are already here and need help with renovations, stay up to date with The Local's guide to the latest news around French property

Property in France: A weekly roundup of the latest news and talking points
Photo: Lucas Bariolet/AFP

Price explosion

France has seen one of the highest rates of property prices rises in the world over the last 10 years, according to this new study. France comes in at number 7 in the wrld ranking with a 101 percent rise in property prices since 2010. Although prices haven’t risen as much as they have in Israel, Switzerland, Germany and the US (the top four ranking countries) France has seen just a three percent rise in salaries over the same period. The average price per square metre in France is now €8,113 (although the French property market is heavily skewed by Paris).

Paris affordable property

People living in Paris can now apply for the bail réel solidaire scheme, which is run by city authorities to try and address the issue of families and working people being driven out of Paris by sky-high property prices. Those selected for the scheme get the chance to buy an apartment at roughly half the market price, while paying a low level of rent (between €100 and €200) to City Hall, which retains ownership of the lease. The city received 2,700 applicants for the first part of the scheme, which is aimed at people on a lower income.

End of remote working?

From the beginning of September the French government has ended its official guidance that employees who can work from home should do at least two days of remote work and three in the office. However, that was only ever a guideline and future working patterns will be worked out between employers and employees. While some people are champing at the bit to get back to the office, others now prefer télétravail and some have moved out of the city to better accommodate this. Here’s what the French Labour Code says about who has the final choice on where you work.

Property trends

If you’re looking to live or invest in the capital, then check out the petit couronne. The city of Paris concerns only the areas of the capital inside the périphérique (the ringroad), outside this are the three départements (Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne and Hauts-de-Seine) that form the inner suburbs, known as the petit couronne (little crown).

Not only is property here a lot more affordable than in central Paris, but there are two reasons that experts expect prices to rise. The first is the Grand Paris Express project, an expansion of the Metro further out into the suburbs, making a lot more areas easily commutable into Paris. The second is the Paris 2024 Olympics, which has several infrastructure projects planned for the suburbs, particularly the more deprived areas of Seine-Saint-Denis which will be the site of the athletes’ village.  

Renovation

The government’s flagship energy efficiency project has announced a 77 percent acceptance rate among people who have applied for grants for renovations on their homes. The Ma Prime Renov scheme has had 382,000 applications since it opened in January 2020, of which 77 percent (297,000) were accepted.

The scheme was expanded over the summer to include second homes – details on how to apply here.

The classic Metro design of Hector Guimard. (Photo by AFP)

Dream homes

If you’re looking for something a bit special, a house designed by the leader of the Art Nouveau movement is on the market, a bargain at just €1.3 million.

The property in Auvers-sur-Oise, in the greater Paris region, is full of stunning Art Nouveau flourishes including a ‘Harry Potter style staircase’.

It was designed by architect Hector Guimard, who went on to design the iconic Metro entrances, and the similarities in his style can be seen throughout the house – click here for images.

Property tip of the week

Beware of termites. The creepy-crawlies are probably no-one’s favourite animal, but for property owners in France they can spell disaster.

They won’t destroy your house (or at least it will take them decades to do serious damage) but they could scupper your chances of a sale.

Property in France cannot be sold without a diagnostic de termites (termite inspection) from a professional made within the last six months, so an infestation could cost you at least an expensive treatment and at worse the sale might fall through altogether. So make sure you treat your timber regularly with anti-termite preparations (available in most French DIY stores or builders’ merchants).

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CRIME

French police launch new service to keep empty homes secure

Leaving your property empty puts it at risk of burglars or squatters and this is a particular worry for second-home owners, whose homes are often vacant for prolonged periods.

French police launch new service to keep empty homes secure

French police run a scheme called Opération Tranquillité Vacances which involves householders telling their local police that they will be away, so they can keep an eye on the property.

The scheme has run in various forms since 1974, but now an online platform has been set up allowing property owners to make their declaration in just a few clicks.

It’s largely targeted at French people who are going away over the summer and leaving their homes empty, but it’s not limited to French nationals and can be used all year around.

Under the scheme, householders and businesses can ask their local gendarmes to keep a watch over their properties while they are away for a period of up to three months.

READ ALSO How to get rid of squatters from your French property

Police and gendarmes patrols visit houses on their list at various times during the day or night, checking shutters, gates, and back gardens to make sure all is as it should be – and to act as a deterrent to any criminal groups checking the area.

The new online service is not limited to French nationals or French residents, but it does require a FranceConnect account to operate, meaning that you need to be registered in at least one French database (eg the tax office, benefits office or in the health system).

The form can be used to cover both main residences and second homes (résidence secondaire) but there is a limit of three months at a time for the property to be vacant.

You can find the form HERE and it can be completed between three and 45 days before your departure.

You can also register in person at your nearest police station or gendarmerie unit. Take ID and proof of address, such as a recent utility bill, if you do it this way.

Summertime is high-season for criminals in France, who target homes that have been left vacant while their owners are away on holiday.

Opération Tranquillité Vacances was introduced in 1974 as a means to keep crime rates down during the summer holiday period. It was extended to include other school holidays in 2009, and is now available all year round.

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