The year 2020 started so beautifully: for more than 80% of homeowners in France, the Tax d’Habitation would be canceled. A nice “douceur” of a few hundred euros per year with which President Macron fulfilled one of his election promises. Unfortunately, this boost can go up in smoke without anyone being able to enjoy it. Because with the current Corona crisis, France has also largely come to a halt and major emergency plans are being made that cost a lot of money. Expenses that nobody had counted on and for which the money must come from somewhere. The partial adjustment of the exemption on Tax d’Habitation is unfortunately one of the possibilities to save costs.
Construction is one of the hard-hit sectors: France has 555,291 construction companies, 94% of which are under construction and 6% in public works (source: www.capeb.fr). The total turnover of construction is 150 billion euros and here the 80-20 rule applies; companies with less than 20 employees represent 98% of construction companies and 80% of turnover.
Almost everyone in construction has been forced to stay at home since March 2020. Office workers try to keep to the rhythm with teleworking and video meetings, but all the cranes on the construction sites also stand idle along the Côte d´Azur and the diligent hammering and screaming between the concrete slabs is silenced. The purchase of a new-build home in sunny southern France seems more than ever a fairytale from a brochure because the French government has not given permission to continue building. After all, ‘social distancing’ cannot be observed on the construction site.
The ten-day cooling-off period extended
Did you sign a reservation contract this spring and don’t want to wait for the delayed delivery of your purchase? After March 12, you can still use the “cancel at no cost” clause. This is normally valid within ten days of reflection after receipt of the reservation contract signed by both parties. The government has found a solution to this; the ten-day cooling-off period for all contracts starts from 24 June 2020; a month after all emergency measures have been lifted. (subject to new developments)
Fortunately, there are nice concrete plans ready to kick-start the economy and in particular new construction. The two largest real estate financiers; HDC Habitat and Action Logement have jointly set up a fund that will rapidly build 50,000 new homes (source: defiscalisation.immo). This concerns specific VEFA construction, the so-called “Vente En létat Futur d’Achèvement” or “For sale in the future state of completion”. For those who purchase a VEFA home, they can be assured of delivery thanks to a special fund that guarantees the construction, even if the project developer goes bankrupt.
Even during the Corona crisis, the sale of new VEFA construction continues. It is precise during this period that people finally decide to buy that house in the South of France. After all, thanks to new technology such as Google Earth and Google Maps with Street view, you can see in detail how far walking is to the bakery or the local supermarket.
It is therefore not surprising that the number of applications from prospective buyers who are already familiar with the Côte d´Azur is growing during this period. Picturesque Vence, bustling Cannes or stylish Beausoleil, people know their classics and have been celebrating their holidays there for years. This is perhaps the right time to strike and reserve that last penthouse with a sea view. Or a lovely apartment with a garden in a luxury residence with a swimming pool. Then you can be sure that the summer of 2021 will look completely different.
Buying new buildings remotely does not involve any risks; you visit the environment virtually and receive all documentation by email. After 14 years of experience with new construction, I can assure you that the delivery and finishing of new construction is actually more beautiful than the brochure. This is due to the leading role of the architect. With his or her plans, the building permit has been applied for and the municipality checks to the smallest detail whether there is any deviation from the original plan.
Each VEFA construction has different phases; the demolition of existing buildings is started and then digging for the underground parking garages. Once this foundation has been laid and the measurements have been checked, you may pay another part. This is not easy; the notary may only receive your next payment once the architect has checked everything with the contractor and signs a completed construction phase. In addition, your money never goes directly to the project developer but to the VEFA guarantee fund that is managed by the notary.
Any excuse to come to France is welcome, although for some people it is not always feasible in terms of timing. The tightened law from 2017 also stipulated that the buyer of French real estate must physically sign the deed of sale in France. For buyers from countries outside the EU, this was a difficult issue that also entailed additional costs.
Fortunately, the French government annulled this law by decree in April 2020. As a result, we are back in the same way of working before 2017 where you can go to your local notary to sign a power of attorney. The notary verifies your passport, identity and legalizes your signature. Some French notaries have invested in digital technology on time; they complete the transaction via a secure image connection with a modern colleague notary anywhere in the world.
With unprecedented flexibility from the government and the guarantee that more homes will be built in the very near future, the future for new construction looks at least healthy.
Act now, enjoy sooner
Investing in a French Riviera property is always a good idea. The prices have never gone down and the whole Côte d’Azur is in high demand by a wealthy international group of people. You meet people here with an international lifestyle, looking for the best of the best in housing, services, quality, and safety. The properties we offer are sold by local agents and project developers. Since there is no exclusivity in French Riviera real estate, due to the activities of agents and brokers, the availability of luxury properties can change per day. If you have a specific wish, contact us and we’ll activate a search for you in the databases of all our connected agents. This saves you time and frustration. Our personal assistance guides you through the Cote d’Azur real-estate jungle to find the home you are looking for. And then you can start with the French Riviera lifestyle!
Clients choose us to represent them because we are not French, but straight-forward Dutch. We know the local market and we have selected our real-estate partners because they understand what service must be given to international customers. Our team is pro-active, 7/7 reachable by WhatsApp. Buying from abroad in France might look complicated but we will guide you through the paperwork. The Living on the Cote d’Azur service is also present with the signing of the final deed at the notary.
We organise proper translations if needed and we can bring you in contact with our reliable network of financial advisors for a mortgage or a fiscal structure that fits your personal situation and needs. Our after-sales service helps with finding the right Côte d’Azur kitchen supplier, interior designer, furniture supplier, French Riviera renovation team or wellness supplier. Opt-in for a Dutch professional home searching service if you want to invest in French Riviera real estate.
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