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Where in France can be affected by a new law?

We recently reported how owners of vacant properties and second homes in many parts of France are likely to soon see their tax bill rise as a result of measures outlined in the government’s 2023 budget.

Read more: France is planning a measure to increase taxes on many empty and secondary residences

This is due to increases in the tax on vacant homes on empty dwellings and a review of areas classified as tense areas (in housing shortage).

A tense area is currently defined as an urban area of ​​more than 50,000 people where access to housing is difficult, but the budget seeks to extend this to small towns and to measure the pressure on the housing market by the cost of purchase and rental of a property, and the proportion of second homes in the region.

This is intended to benefit rural communities on the coast or in the mountains, for example, which are sparsely populated but which are popular tourist destinations and therefore a lot of empty second homes.

A new list of tense areas will be described in a government decree which should be published in the coming days; it should include 5,000 municipalities, compared to 1,149 currently spread over 28 urban areas.

It is not yet known if the population criterion will simply be reduced to a lower number or if it will be eliminated altogether.

Changes to the definition of a tense area also mean that certain local authorities which were not previously classified in such an area will now be able to apply a housing surcharge to second homes in their neighborhood.

Housing tax (tourist tax) is being phased out for all main residences, none of which will pay it in 2023.

Read more: French housing tax: Who is totally exempt in 2022?

However, the tax remains in place for all secondary residences, and in tense areas a surcharge of 5-60% may be imposed by decision of the local council.

Read also: French second homes: housing tax rates continue to rise

Read also: Do non-residents pay more French taxes on second homes than residents?

Following the budget, this surcharge will potentially be applicable over a wider area.

What areas will be affected?

INSEE indicates that one in ten French homes is a second home, and that 40% of them are on the coast, 16% in the mountains and 12% in dense urban areas (this therefore suggests that 32% are in non-coastal rural areas or small towns). Some of these areas will therefore be considered “under pressure” in the future, whereas they are not currently designated as such.

Renaissance MP Xavier Roseren said The Parisian: “In Haute-Savoie, in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, 70% of properties are second homes. This proportion even reaches 84% ​​in the small town of Contamines-Montjoie”.

Alpine villages and towns popular with owners of second homes are therefore likely to be affected by the new law, as are municipalities located on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts and in Corsica.

To find out if your municipality is currently on the list of tense areasyou can enter his name or your postal code in this government research tool.

The results may not be completely up to date, but they can help give an idea of ​​the most affected areas.

Mr. Roseren acknowledged that: “The increase housing tax by €100, €200 or €300 will not sell their properties.

However, he added that: “This tool will not solve the housing problem but will bring additional income which can be used by mayors to improve the permanent housing stock by buying land or building social housing.”

Municipalities will not be obliged to impose a housing surchargebut may choose to do so if they feel that the local situation requires such action.

In 2022, less than 30% of local authorities already authorized to increase housing tax for second homes have indeed done so.

Read also: Marseille joins other French cities in imposing maximum tax on second homes

In the future, increase housing tax invoices for secondary residences may be deemed necessary by a greater proportion of municipalities, as the tax is no longer applied to primary residences.

Municipalities concerned by the changes of tense area will have until February 28, 2023 to decide whether or not to apply the housing surcharge for next year.

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