Lower Fees and More Housing for 2015?

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France has been going through cabinets on a seasonal basis this year, but zoning and fee reforms should make it a cheaper place to invest in the coming year

Before the removal of Arnaud Montebourg as finance minster last month, one of his decisions was to deregulate the professions in order to, as he put it, “give back to the French people the equivalent of €6 billion of buying power”.

His reforms are still due to carry through and the people of France (or indeed the Irish people buying property in France) will be able to see the concrete results in reductions in fees for the ensemble of professionals associated with buying a property in France. These include notaires (solicitors), greffiers (court clerks), huissiers de justice (bailiffs) and agents immobilier (estate agents or auctioneers).

Indeed, it is one of the major “surprises” when it comes to buying a property in France that fees for the notaire and agent are often bundled in together along with taxes to produce an overall services and taxes fee that bubbles over the 10% mark.

It’s a situation that has brought professionals out on the street in protest and makes for an intriguing sight to see gents in legal gowns walk the pavement with placards in place of the blue-overall brigade.

Meanwhile, today marks the beginning of a rezoning of French property that should not make a huge difference of itself to people investing in French property but it was also the occasion for new housing minister Sylvia Pinel to announce that new housing builds for rental property in 2015 would increase by 43% from 35,000 to 50,000.

“The objective,” says the minister, “is to allow those on middle-incomes to find housing more easily in the areas of greatest pressure, in other words in the big cities.”

This should have a cooling affect on the housing market. Whilst the overall picture of the French market is stagnant, certain parts of the bigger cities are seeing localized increases similar to what has been happening in parts of Dublin. The only difference with France is an attempt to redress this situation.

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