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How the French Presidential election could affect the real estate market
With the first round of voting only a fortnight away, it is worth considering what each candidate’s policies would mean for property, if elected.
The centrist and leading candidate has made headlines with his plans to reduce the wealth tax to include property only, turning it into a straight-up property tax. Other financial assets and investments would be excluded. This is to be balanced with an exoneration of 80% of French home-owners from the taxe d’habitation.
He will maintain the rent caps but stall their extension to other cities in France, and otherwise maintain most property investment devices (Pinel, Cosse, interest-free loans for first-time buyers).
Marine Le Pen
The candidate who has based her campaign almost entirely on Europe and immigration, Le Pen is lacking in any official or coherent policies towards property or housing. Her only significant move would be to reduce land registry taxes by 10%, which would come as a pleasant surprise to those looking to purchase property in and elsewhere.
The centre-right candidate has proposed a radical overhaul of the economy, slashing public spending and letting 500,000 civil service jobs go unreplaced upon retirement. And his property manifesto is equally ambitious.
He will repeal the rent caps in and Lille (but create a comparable, optional lease for voluntary landlords, with fiscal advantages). He will also bring the waiver period for capital gains tax back down to 15 years (currently 22), meaning a shorter waiting period to see a healthy return on your property. His last headline act would be to repeal the wealth tax, replacing it with a flat 30% tax on revenues from capital investment.
An equally radical, but this time leftist platform is being espoused by the former Socialist Party member.
He will extend the rent caps to all metropolises of France; get rid of any waiver period on capital gains tax; increase the land registry taxes on higher value properties, and harden the wealth tax and the kinds of assets it is imposed upon. All this would mean a higher tax liability and lower rental return for your property.
Currently trailing in the polls, a Hamon presidency is all but impossible. His policy is fairly similar to Melanchon’s but a little less radical, for example, an extension of the rent caps but only to cities with fast-rising rents. He promises to leave capital gains alone but reform the wealth tax into a simpler one, which will be more progressive and incorporate the taxe fonciere.