What Would a Fillon Presidency Mean for French Property?
He’s gone from political underdog to odds-on favorite to become the next French president. A look at Fillon’s property manifesto makes clear his Thatcherite agenda: liberalization, marketization and getting rid of rent controls.
The end of rent caps
Like many others, Fillon has said he will get rid of the rent caps introduced in summer of 2015. “Finding housing has become as difficult as finding a job. The market is so over-regulated and over-burdened that it has been paralysed.” He sees the rent caps as the apotheosis of this over-regulation and will use it as a springboard to further de-regulate the rental industry.
Bringing the lease “into the 21st century”
Fillon wants to create a new type of lease that will make it easier for ordinary people to rent out property. Somewhere in between leases of social and private housing, it will have favorable tax provisions; easier expulsion of tenants; and less paperwork required of those seeking to move in.
Ending the almost universal provision of social housing
The centre-right candidate believes that France’s almost universal provision of social housing to low income residents is a detriment to both the economy and those that most need the financial assistnace. 70% of French people qualify for it, as opposed to 20% in Germany and Britain. The earnings thresholds will be decreased, and those already in social housing will see surcharges if their earnings surpass it.
Capital gains tax and interest-free loans
Fillon would also like to see the waiver period for capital gains on property reduced to 15 years (currently 22). He’s also keen to phase out the hefty 6-7% transfer taxes (stamp duties) paid by buyers to notaries. Zero-interest loans will be given only to first time buyers, and only in new-build transactions, aside from in rural areas. Other measures to encourage new-builds will include a reduction in value-added tax (VAT) on commercial lettings.
Regional housing policy and easing of regulations
He would like to end the French housing policy one-size-fits-all approach, decentralizing decision-making by putting more power in the hands of regional authorities. Also on his agenda are the simplification of construction standards and the process of releasing public land and brownfield sites. One method of this will be easing the regulation that requires one parking space per unit of housing built.
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