Property investment on French Riviera back in fashion

Lower taxes and prices lure well-off buyers again

Property investment on French Riviera back in fashion

Wealthy buyers are returning to the French Riviera which is once again a popular property investment destination as France cuts taxes and owners sell below asking prices.

The weaker euro is attracting buyers from the UK, the US and Scandinavian states, The Times reports today.

Dominique André at Aylesford said, as quoted by The Times:

“It’s a great time to find a good deal on the Côte d’Azur because there has never been so much for sale. Many owners still need to reduce their prices drastically and offers are being made for 10 to 30 per cent below asking prices.”

A European Court of Justice ruling recently resulted in the abolition of the 15.5 percent social tax on second-home income, which was levied by the French government since 2012. In addition, France has aligned the capital gains tax (CGT) for non-EU buyers from 33.3 percent to the 19 percent rate applied to EU citizens.

According to Mark Harvey at Knight Frank, the number of US buyers has tripled since November last year, due to the lower rate of CGT and the favourable currency exchange rate.

Furthermore, property owners in France are now exempt from paying CGT after 22 years, having previously been required to have owned their property for a minimum of 35 years before being exempt.

This has led to an increased level of activity on the market as buyers and sellers alike look to cash in while market and taxation conditions are favourable.

According to André, CGT could yet be reduced further, to a required ownership period of a mere 15 years.

“It really widens the options of prospective buyers: you can plan ahead for 15 years, but not 35,” he noted.

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