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Money Matters and Legal / In Law

Property Developers in France Want to Reform the Politics of Real Estate

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The foremost association of property developers in France has set out ten measures to reform the relationship between politics and property. 

From cutting regulation to decentralizing decision-making, the FPI has ten ideas that it hopes will rejuvenate the property industry by reforming it politically. The organization’s president, Alexandre Francois-Cuxac, said that, “the electoral period, in which housing is barely mentioned, seems to be a good time to point out the disparity in wage growth and increase in the cost of housing.”

Firstly, several measures could be taken to ensure that decisions are taken more quickly and more effectively. This could be done by replacing the housing minister with a property agency that would be under the jurisdiction of regional ministers. The FPI believe that this would allow the government to treat the property market like a creative and innovative market, rather than a resource that needs to be administered.

The FPI also espouses increasing the scope of public-private sector consultations like the CSCEE and the CNH, and completely decentralizing the areas of urbanism and housing, allowing for a more case-by-case approach to the two rather than overarching objectives of central government (like arbitrary construction figures).

In the area of liberalizing the industry, the FPI highlight four main areas. Ministers should make clearer the benefits to localities, both financial and social, of encouraging new-build housing in their regions. In keeping with the regional centralization theme, better care should be taken to cancel projects if the expenditure cannot be justified. 

Instituting a diminishing reduction of capital gains tax on the sales of property developments is also cited as an idea: 66% off for sales a year after the construction permits are issued, 50% the year after and 33% the third.

A total of 35,000 properties are preventing from being built each year by what the FPI deem ‘abusive’ complaints. Worse yet, many occur in the middle of construction, wasting resources and leading to unexpected unemployment for builders. They suggest a fast-track tribunal process for cases of local opposition. 

La Mixité Sociale is the idea behind laws stating that 20% to 25% of new builds in a region must be social housing. Developers usually include some social housing in property developments to abide by this. However, the FPI believe that property developers in France would do better to institute this mix at the neighborhood level rather than in individual buildings. 

Lastly, they propose a modifiable VAT on new-builds depending on the income of the buyers, ensuring a fair price. Another idea is to stop seeing property investors and landlords as simply individuals, but rather regard them as freelance professionals as many might wish. A recognised landlord occupation status would, therefore, be desirable for the FPI.

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