A year and a half after the start of the health crisis, which confined France for several months, the second home market is booming. So much so that prices are soaring in many popular towns and are further accentuating the tensions on the housing market. This is particularly true on the coasts, as well as in large cities, especially in the south of France.
To fight against the increase in the number of second homes, not rented or used for short-term rentals (through platforms like Airbnb), more and more municipalities are deciding to knock on the wallet. The list of those who decide to significantly increase the increase on the housing tax for second homes is growing from week to week.
Up to 60% surcharge
Marseille thus decided, at the end of September, to increase its housing tax on second homes by 60%, against 20% previously, as Lyon, Bordeaux and Montpellier had done this summer. Paris and Nice had already taken this decision for several years. On the Basque coast, Barritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz – where almost half of the units are second homes – did the same a few weeks ago, whileAnglet had already carried the surcharge at its legal maximum of 60% in April. La Rochelle, in Charente-Maritime, chose an increase of 50%; the city of Sète, in the Hérault, by 40%. According to Free noon, in addition to Montpellier and Sète, eight municipalities in the department have taken a similar measure.
The housing tax is now abolished for 80% of owners of main residences, but not for 3.2 million owners of second homes. In tight areas, i.e. where there is a marked imbalance between supply and demand for housing leading to serious difficulties in accessing housing, an increase of 5% to 60% is applicable – i.e. potentially in 1,151 municipalities.
The municipalities which are currently deciding to increase it are precisely those which have experienced the most significant increases in house prices in eighteen months. The increases are, for example, 15% over one year in La Rochelle, 10% in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, or even more than 7% in Marseille.
Les Sables-d’Olonne, which is not yet classified as a tight zone, asked to be after a year when the prices of housing located on the coastal strip have soared. The elected officials of this municipality which has 40% of second homes wish to apply the surcharge from 2023, perhaps up to 60%.
Encourage owners to put homes back on the market
With these increases, the elected officials of the cities concerned hope to encourage the owners of second homes to put these under-occupied housing back on the market by selling them or renting them out for a long time, while part of their population is struggling to housing. “If we managed to convince even 20% of owners, we could free up nearly 1,200 homes, right away”, thus explained to South West Thibaut Guiraud, the finance assistant of La Rochelle.
“Short-term rentals represent 18% [du parc de logements]is huge in an already tight market. We used the only lever at our disposal ”, also affirmed François Escarguel, deputy mayor of Sète in charge of finances, to Free noon.
Beyond the issue of housing, the measure will also inflate the revenues of municipalities whose finances have been affected by a health crisis that has lasted for a year and a half. Was, according to France 3 Occitanie, the municipality also justified the increase in the surcharge by “The impact of the health crisis on municipal revenues” and “The essential role of the municipality in terms of social shock absorber” : “It seems right to involve people who have an important heritage”, according to a municipal document consulted by the local channel.
In Marseille too, we talk about a tax that “May have a financial effect”. “We cannot yet measure it, because the law provides for a whole system of reductions”, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Joël Canicave, deputy mayor of Marseille in charge of finances, however, evoking “A first assessment of 3 million euros” additional revenue for the city.