French Property Market showing signs of recovery.

From one of our sources: The property market in France is showing signs of recovering well with prices in key cities up across the country and demand growing but elections ahead could slow down the upturn. The latest data shows that prices in Paris increased by 1.2% month on month in February and by 2.3% in Bordeaux while in Lyon they were up 5.4% year on year. The figures from one estate agent also show annual price growth of 2% in Marseille, Montpellier and Toulouse and a rise of 1% in Strasbourg, Lille and Nice. Indeed, in Bordeaux and Lyon prices are now close to their previous peak. The rise in prices is not across the board, with rural areas not seeing the current rise in values. Only good quality properties in urban areas that are close to transport, schools and shops are sought after. The upward momentum is not yet seen in rural areas or in the second homes market.

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THE REFERENDUM & FRENCH PROPERTY

THE REFERENDUM AND FRENCH PROPERTY.

The decision has been made and negotiations have yet to start, but here is my view of the possible effects on British French Property buyers and owners following the referendum.

France, as well as Spain and Italy, have been very popular with British home buyers for many years, and certainly before the Common Market came into being. We have voted to leave so we might be in the same situation as the Americans and Australians who have been buying in France for many years – and live there very happily!  If my friends and business associates in France are anything to go by, the British will continue to be very welcome.

Will there be any possibility of the British losing the ownership of their properties if we leave? Definitely not!

Would we need to apply for a visa to visit France and other EU countries if we vote to leave? In my view this is unlikely as there would probably be a reciprocal arrangement with all the EU countries.

It is possible that the British may need to apply for a fixed term ‘carte de sejour’ / permit to live in France and reapply before each expiry date. They may have to prove that they have enough wealth so as not to be a burden on French social security. They may even have to take a language test – but if living in any overseas country a basic knowledge of the language is essential.

With regard to healthcare the current reciprocal arrangements may be terminated, although members of the European Economic Area have reciprocal arrangements with the EEC countries. Of course, there are insurance companies specialising in this field – so I do not see a problem.

The state pension situation for British people residing in France and other EU countries will have to be agreed. There is some doubt as to whether or not state pension payments to the British residents in France will be protected by the ‘triple lock’. We can only hope that the government will not be vindictive and that the current situation will continue.

Mortgages when buying in the EU may be a problem in that interest rates may be higher for British or other ‘foreign’ buyers and higher deposits may be necessary. Banks work across borders and I feel sure that any problems will not be too onerous.

There may be increased social charges and / or capital gains tax when selling.

With regard to personal taxation, there should be little or no effect as Britain and France have a dual tax treaty.

It was inevitable that in the event of a vote to leave the EU there would be turmoil in the financial markets. However, steps have been taken which we hope will stabilise the market.

On balance I do not see any serious problems for French property owners and buyers. Property prices remain very low in most areas, and even with the current exchange rate it’s not a bad time to take advantage and buy!

Drainage

Drainage in France

In many areas of France, especially in the countryside where mains drainage is not available, sewage has to be treated on site – usually a ‘Fosse Septique’ (Septic Tank). However a new law was passed in 1992 which gave responsibility for the overseeing and regulation of old and new waste water installations to the local communes, i.e. the Marie / town hall.

This law stipulated that all household waste liquids have to be processed by means of a ‘Fosse Toutes Eaux’. This is a treatment / filtration system that ensures only treated waste is released into the environment.

If buying a French property, ensure that you know whether or not the drainage complies with this law.

Macron Law

Emanuel Macron, the French Economy Minister, has slipped in a sly clause in the decree that has been called the ‘Loi Macron’ to the effect that the 7 day cooling off period will be extended to 10 days after the compromis / preliminary contract has been signed. This is likely to slow down the conveyancing process. This law is now in force.

TAXATION IN FRANCE

On February 27, 2015: A decision of the European Court of Justice stated that non-resident property owners when selling their French properties will not have to pay the CSG and CRDS ( Social Charges) as they do not receive Social Security .  In short: the tax rate (before deductions) is down from 34.50% to 19%!

From January 2015 the obligation to have tax representation in France for non-resident Europeans no longer applies.

ECO FRIENDLY RENOVATIONS

GRANTS FOR ECO FRIENDLY RENOVATION WORK.

1. Up to €30, 000 free of interest to finance insulation works.

2. Income tax relief until 31st December. Owners of a main residence can deduct 30% of works undertaken to save energy (materials).

3. Special rates for certain bank loans for renovation work.

4. Special loans by certain suppliers (EDF, GDF, Total, also Leclerc, Carrefour, Auchan ….).

6. Grants by Anah (national habitat agency) for lower income groups.

7. Grants by local authorities on an ad hoc basis.