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

Property in France: A weekly roundup of the latest news and talking points
Photo: Damien Meyer/AFP
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.

Buy or rent?

The rise of remote working means that many people no longer need to follow the employment market when they buy, and can consider some of France’s less well-known areas.

A new study by the mortgage brokers Meilleurstaux.com looks at which towns are the best value for money for buying property, and where it would be more economical to rent.

Coming out top as places to buy were Le Mans in northern France, Perpignan down in the south west and Dijon in the east. Smaller cities, they all benefit from relatively low property prices, but in the case of Le Mans, it is just one hour from Paris by train. Le Havre, Limoges, Grenoble, Saint-Etienne and Nîmes also scored well, while Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Rennes and Nantes were the towns where buyers were least likely to make a good investment. Find the full study here.

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Garden hire

If you’re lucky enough to have a property with a decent sized garden you might be able to make some money in hiring it out.

An increasing number of homeowners are signing up to garden-hire sites to rent out their outdoor spaces to people wanting more Covid-safe venues for weddings, parties and family gatherings.

The owner of one such site, jardins-prive.com, told Le Monde that they had seen a fivefold increase in rentals over the past year as people searched for open-air sites with a more personal feel to hold delayed family celebrations and parties.

Furnished homes

If you’re looking to rent out your French property, be aware of some France-specific rules around the registration of the property and of yourself as a landlord.

That’s in addition to more usual requirements such as paying tax on your rental income, even if you are not resident in France.

And finally, whether you are renting the property furnished or unfurnished makes a difference to the type of lease you can offer.

If you opt for the furnished route, a government decree lays out precisely what you must provide, right down to the hoover and duvet.

Renovation

Fancy adding a swimming pool to your French property? You’re not the only one as 2020 was a bumper year for pool installations, as people denied holidays decided instead to bring a bit of holiday atmosphere to their homes.

However, before you fetch your swimming cap and water wings, there are a few crucial details to know about the rules on installing pools – from planning permission to estimated costs.

Read our complete guide to pool installation for more.

Property trends

If you’ve not quite got enough in the bank to buy somewhere to live, you could look at buying a parking space to rent out instead.

This is really only viable in the big cities, mainly Paris, but investors are tipping car parking spaces as giving good returns on your investment, especially as authorities in Paris further limit on-street parking spaces in the city in an attempt to make commuters switch to greener transport methods.

Dream homes

If you really want to see what’s on the market for the super rich in Paris, the Netflix series L’Agence (or The Parisian Agency in its English title) is for you.

It follows the highly likeable Kretz family, who run a high-end real estate agency in Paris and the surrounding area, selling stunning properties to high net worth individuals for eye-watering price tags.

Perfect for planning exactly how you will spend that family fortune/imaginary lottery win.

Property tip of the week 

It’s probably not a surprise that French property comes with French property taxes, but which ones you will be liable to pay depends on where you live.

There are two French property taxes – taxe foncière is paid by the owner of the property, while taxe d’habitation is paid by the householder. If you own the property you live in, then you pay them both.

However, there are big changes afoot to this system, with taxe d’habitation gradually being phased out. It’s now only in place for higher earners, but it is still payable on second homes, whatever your income bracket.

Taxe foncière, on the other hand, is here to stay and in many areas local authorities – feeling the pinch from the lack of taxe d’habitation cash – are hiking the rates of taxe foncièrehere is how the tax is calculated.

Bills for property taxes arrive in the autumn and are due in October and November.


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