Home Property in France
How to buy a house in France?
Here you will find the detailed information about real estate purchasing in France:
- the right way to choose the property and to effect the deal;
- property taxes and duties that should be paid;
- everything about home loans in France;
- home property management and renting;
- rental, commercial properties and related investment properties.
Real estate for sale
Most recent offers from house owners in France and from real estate agencies. Advertisements with the fixed price and auctions are listed here.
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Prices for real estate in France vary depending on a region. For example, a prestigious resort zone Cote d’Azur is located in the south of the country, and local real property prices are quite high. Paris, the capital of France, is situated in the central region of the country. Prices for real property within the city, as well as located on its outskirts, are also pretty high. Real estate prices in other regions vary significantly; however, they are usually lower than those in the abovementioned regions. In 2012, prices started falling by 3.9 %, reaching a 5 % decrease by the end of 2013. Let us investigate the prices for French real property, as of 2013:
Prices for real property in northern France
The northern region of France lies along the coast of the English Channel. This region is called Normandy and divided into Upper Normandy and Lower Normandy. An apartment in Upper Normandy costs around €3321 per sq. m., while an apartment in Lower Normandy can be purchased for some €3527 per sq. m. The average price for apartments in both sub-regions is €142 500.
Prices for real property in southern France
Southern France is famous for its highest housing prices in the whole country, except Paris. The most prestigious French resorts are located here, on Cote d’Azur. Local beaches attract wealthy people from all around the world. An apartment here is worth around €271 000. A small house away from the coastline can be purchased for €150 000. Yet, prices for premium property in the south of France may even reach several dozen million Euros.
Nice, one of the most famous resort cities around the world, is situated in this region. Obviously, its popularity has influenced property prices in southern France. The average price for an apartment in Nice is about €3927 per sq. m., although in case you want to purchase an apartment in the heart of the Cote d’Azur capital, you should be ready to pay no less than €5000 per sq. m. Price for a square meter of housing with a sea view can reach €10 000. Private houses in this fabulous city cost over €250 000 and almost infinitely higher. For example, a villa in the prestigious Mont Boron district goes for some €3–5 million.
Prices for real property in central France
Glorious Paris is situated in the center of France. It is fairly considered not only among the greatest cities on the planet, but also one of the most expensive ones. Property prices in Paris depend on a particular district. The average square meter price in Paris is €8440. The cheapest apartment here is worth around €6770 per sq. m., while the most expensive property goes for €13 520 per sq. m. The cheapest 5–9 sq. m. studio apartment costs €40 000. A house in Parisian suburbs located within the region of Ile-de-France can be purchased for €120 000 or more.
Prices for real property in eastern France
The east of France is represented by Champagne-Ardenne region, famous for its winemaking traditions. Average property prices here are approximately €3266 per sq. m. for an apartment, and €1471 per sq. m. for a house. Rhône-Alpes region, neighboring with Switzerland, is also located in eastern France. An apartment on the shore of Lake Geneva costs about €3666 per sq. m. Lyon, also known as a city of squares, is also located in this region. Local apartments are worth nearly €200 000.
Prices for real property in western France
The historical province of Brittany lies in the west of France. It was named after the colonists, who came from the British Islands and settled here. This province is famous for oysters that are planted in special pools. Local apartments cost about €20 000, while a house in need of repairs goes for €16 000.
Western France is also known for another city with outstanding winemaking traditions – Bordeaux. The average price for a square meter here is €3000. A small 15 sq. m. studio apartment in this city costs around €55 000. Prices for houses in Bordeaux start at €150 000.
In fact, the process of property purchase in France may begin from buyer’s verbal offer to seller. If seller agrees, then the deal is considered to be arranged. Sometimes parties sign an official purchase offer (offre d’achat), in which they specify main terms of transaction. On this stage no payments are allowed, therefore buyer should not make any deposits before signing a preliminary agreement.
Keep in mind that before purchasing real estate in France it is necessary to inspect its technical condition, since some houses may require costly repair.
Two types of sale and purchase agreements are used in France:
- Promesse de Vente (promise to sell)
- Compromis de Vente (selling compromise)
These two types do not have significant differences, but the “compromise” has recently become more popular. This is probably due to the fact that legal obligations of parties are stated more clearly in this document.
Upon signing the agreement, buyer has to pay a 10 % deposit of the object value. Buyer has seven days to cancel the agreement, in order to get back full deposit amount. In case buyer cancels the agreement after seven days have passed, he or she will lose the deposit. If it’s the seller, who decides to cancel the agreement, he or she has to return twice the amount of deposit. The agreement clearly stipulates all terms of transaction and liabilities of both parties.
Sale and purchase agreement
The next step of real estate acquisition in France involves signing a sale and purchase agreement. It should be signed either by notary, or real estate agent, who is authorized to handle real estate and business asset transactions. However, it is strongly recommended to employ notary services only. A notary always ensures a third party approach to the deal, while an estate agent may have a personal interest in it. Moreover, buyer should be cautious, in case seller insists upon agent’s involvement in the process.
In any case, a notary then examines all terms of transaction, makes the appropriate calculations, and executes the principal sale and purchase agreement (Acte de Vente). Having signed this document, buyer has to pay a notary fee.
Official registration of the deal
After the agreement has been signed, a notary should handle property registration in France. This process takes around 2–3 months. At the end of it, new owner obtains the main document, confirming their right to property – the certificate of ownership.
Property investments in France are liable to the following taxes and duties:
- notary fee – 1 % of the transaction amount;
- real estate tax in France amounts to 6–7 % for secondary market property, and 2–3 % for primary market property, as of 2013. Real estate purchased on the primary market is taxed by VAT, which is usually included in the object value;
- standard VAT rate is 19.6 %.
It is possible to avoid VAT payment by applying for a leaseback program. It allows purchasing property for immediate lease. It means that you have an opportunity to purchase an apartment or a house, and then lease it, ensuring a good annual income. A leaseback agreement is signed for 9 years. After it has expired, the object becomes owner’s property.
real estate insurance
Real estate insurance in France is mandatory. Its amount is determined based on property location, area and some other properties.
Real estate tax in France for non-residents and foreigners is applied only to leased property. It amounts to 20 %.
income tax – 19 %;
capital gains tax (19 % for non-residents) should be paid by owner, that is the seller, applied to minor (also called “secondary”) property. Tax discounts for such transactions were introduced on September 1, 2013, in France. Now the owner selling secondary property, which they have owned for over 6 years, gets a 6 % tax discount. This discount increases by 6 % annually (e.g. up to 24 % for property sold with 10 years of ownership, or up to 96 % for property sold with 21 years of ownership). Therefore, if one has owned secondary property for over 22 years, they can apply for a 100 % discount on capital gains tax (before 2013, such discount was only available to those with over 30 years of ownership). archived version