France Imposes A Housing Surcharge On People Owning Second Homes In Certain Tourist Regions

Image of Patrice Vergriete.

Image of Patrice Vergriete. Credit: Wikipedia - Par Maxdunkerque — Travail personnel, CC BY-SA 4.0

THE French government has published a decree that allows municipalities to apply a surcharge of from 5 to 60 per cent on second homes in the country.

This decision was made in order to limit tensions in the real estate sector of certain French tourist areas. It had already been applied to 1,149 municipalities but now extends to 3,700 French towns, including 30 which belong to the Pas-de-Calais coast.

Since the publication of a decree on Saturday in the Official Journal, 2,000 new municipalities with less than 50,000 inhabitants now have the possibility of increasing the housing tax on second homes and applying a tax on vacant housing. It is a decision that has been well received by certain municipalities but not by others.

The objective of the decree published by the government on August 26 is to facilitate access to housing for people who reside year-round in tourist areas.

It is also designed to dissuade owners from advertising their accommodation for short-term rental on platforms such as Airbnb.

In a tweet, Patrice Vergriete, the Minister Delegate for Housing declared: ‘ With this decree, in these municipalities, vacant housing will now be taxed to encourage their owners to put them back on the market. Municipalities can therefore choose to apply these measures or not. Thanks to our search modules, you can find out if your municipality is affected’.

The decision has been received differently in certain municipalities

Some mayors are willing to seize this opportunity. Gaston Wallewaert, the mayor of Camiers-Sainte-Cécile, in the Pas-de-Calais department of Hauts-de-France, intends to take advantage of this windfall and increase the housing tax on second homes from 5 to 7 per cent.

According to this Thursday 31, he justified his decision by stating: ‘It never feels good to increase taxes, but between the energy crisis, inflation on materials, and the drop in state grants, we have no choice’.

Dominique Bigand, the mayor of Inxent, a village, also in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region of France, that includes 29 second homes, also plans to address the subject at the next municipal council meeting.

She declared: ‘It could represent a new source of income for rural communities like ours, in which budgets are sometimes difficult to make ends meet’.

It is a highly controversial subject on the Opal Coast

This decision has not been good news for a lot of owners who have second homes on the Opal Coast, which runs from the Bray-Dunes in Nord to Berck-sur-Mer in Pas-de-Calais, in the North of France.

Guylain, who owns a holiday villa in the commune of Wimereux, located near Boulogne-sur-Mer, is not ready to put his hand in his pocket to pay this surcharge.

‘Even if my house is a second home, in reality, I come here several months a year. Between the property tax and the housing tax that we must continue to pay, along with all the indirect taxes that we pay by doing our shopping on-site, there is no point in adding more’, he lamented to the aforementioned news outlet.

Some mayors refused to apply the surcharge

Certain municipalities have also adopted a similar attitude towards the new ruling. Daniel Fasquelle, the mayor of Touquet-Paris-Plage, a small coastal town in northern France, refused to apply this surcharge on second homes.

Despite his town having a population of around 10,000, he believes that second homeowners already play an important role in the local economy. This new tax is therefore not favourable to them he insisted.

Other owners, such as Laurent, have no problem in accepting the situation. ‘The government has abolished the housing tax on main residences. So trying to recover some money on second homes, if we put ourselves in the mayor’s shoes, it might be logical. It’s a bit of a shame, but hey, that’s how it is’, he emphasised.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at