21 things to know about French property in 2021
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Brexit, mortgages, taxes, prices - it’s all covered in our round-up of the changes to come this year.
1. If you have a second home in France and wish to stay there for more than 90 days out of 180, for example if you wish to spend half the year there, you will need to apply for a temporary long-stay visa.
2. Britons who moved to France before the end of 2020 need to apply for a residency permit (titre de séjour) before 30th June 2021, in order to receive the permit before October 2021. You can find the necessary forms here.
3. For now, the process for Britons moving to France after 2020 is the same as for other non-EU nationals. You will need to obtain a long-stay visa from the French Embassy in the UK, and move within three months of the issue date.
4. Part of the visa process includes a test of resources. Generally, this requires applicants to have an income equivalent to at least minimum wage. For retirees, if you have less than this minimum income, capital resources are likely to be taken into account.
5. MaPrimeRénov is extended to all owners. The scheme, which provides aid to those renovating their homes to be more energy efficient, can now be used by anyone.
6. The Pinel scheme has been renewed, but only for new homes that are part of a shared property – for example, a flat in a newly constructed complex. The scheme allows people to benefit from a tax reduction when they invest in new real estate in France.
7. The PTZ (prêt à taux zéro - zero interest loan), a means-tested loan for first-time buyers, has been extended until the end of 2021.
8. As part of the taxe d’habitation reform, 80% of French households have already benefitted from the abolition of the tax. The remaining households will see the housing tax gradually reduced from 2021 until it is fully abolished by 2023. You can calculate the reduction in your housing tax here.
9. British pet passports are no longer valid, following Brexit. If you have a property in France and wish to bring your pet with you from the UK, speak to your vet about obtaining the necessary health certificate.
10. The right to share a property between two separated people has become less expensive. For couples who purchased a property jointly, the rate of the sharing fee falls from 2.5% to 1.8% in January 2021.
11. The 2020 environmental regulations (RE 2020) which have been postponed until summer 2021 will mean that energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions during the construction of new homes must be reduced by at least 30%.
12. New build houses must also contain a walk-in shower, and from July flats with lifts must also be built with walk-in showers.
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13. From this year, landlords of properties classed as ‘passoires thermiques’ (with an energy label of F or G) will be prohibited from raising rent unless they carry out renovations to improve the energy rating.
14. Personalised housing assistance (APL) will now be calculated based on income over the last 12 months, rather than the last 2 years.
15. Mortgage rates have fallen again at the start of 2021. The average borrowing rates are currently 1.05% for a 15-year term, 1.25% for a 20-year term and 1.45% for a 25-year term.
16. Co-owners of condominiums are authorized to hold general meetings by videoconference until April 2021, and to vote on issues by postal vote.
17. Annecy tops Le Figaro’s list of the best French cities to invest in in 2021, while Niort was named the best town to invest in.
18. Property prices in France are predicted to stabilise in 2021, having shown resilience despite Covid-19. A rise of 3.5% is forecast, indicating a slower rate of growth than 2020 but a rise nonetheless.
19. Prices in the suburbs of Paris are predicted to rise faster than in the centre in 2021, with a projected increase of 7% in Île-de-France at the end of February, compared to 3.4% in Paris. This is a result of the ongoing trend for Parisiens to move out of the capital to settle in quieter areas.
20. Most estate agents are now fully set-up to conduct viewings, meetings and administrative procedures virtually in 2021. The transition to digital and increased accessibility to agents has built confidence in buyers and sellers.
21. All homes in France should have access to superfast broadband (at least 30 megabits per second) by the end of the year, as part of the ongoing Plan France Très Haut Débit.
For further information on travelling to, moving to and living in France post-Brexit and during the Coid-19 pandemic, continue to check the gov.uk website.
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