elected officials seek tools to combat real estate speculation

“Secondary territories: is the right to live in the country threatened? Housing can only be secondary”: this is the title of the symposium organized by Xavier Roseren, MP (LREM) for Haute-Savoie, and Jean-Félix Acquaviva, MP (Freedom and Territories) for Haute-Corse, on 25 January. The Alpine frontier, Corsica, but also Brittany, the Basque Country and even now Normandy, are suffering the deleterious effects of real estate speculation amplified by the health crisis and the departure of inhabitants from metropolitan areas. There is an emergency, because the “permanent inhabitants” (a new consecrated expression) can no longer find housing, making purchase and acquisition prices inaccessible to them.

Residence status, unconstitutional?

Among the guests at this colloquium: Nils Caouissin, regional councilor for the opposition in Brittany, author of a “Manifesto for resident status in Brittany”. A statute proposed by the elected representatives of Corsica already in 2014. anywhere in Brittany -, specifies Nils Caouissin. Resident status would be open to Britons, people from other regions or other countries, who have lived there for at least one year. According to him, this approach would have the effect of “reducing the stock of second homes, lowering prices and relaxing the market”.

But for Me Martin Tomasi, a lawyer at the Paris Bar Association, “this statute would be a radical solution, requiring the modification of the constitution but also of the European texts. This is something to keep in mind with a long-term perspective.” Many opponents of the residence permit believe it is unconstitutional. “This status already exists in European countries, in the Aland Islands in Finland or in the autonomous region of Bolzano in Italy, where you must have lived in the region for at least five years before being able to buy a property”, retorts Nils Caouissin.

Surcharge on second homes and inspection of furnished tourist accommodation

Prevent. For many stakeholders, the easiest tools to implement are legal and fiscal measures. Me Martin Tomasi recalls the existence of overtaxation of second homes (the municipal share of the housing tax can be increased from 20 to 60%) in agglomerations with more than 50,000 inhabitants. Like Xavier Roseren, he asks that this possibility be extended to all places, regardless of the number of inhabitants. The same principle applies to the inspection of furnished tourist accommodation: the very deterrent measures applied in cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants and in Île-de-France must be able to be applied to all tourist areas. “For now, city councils can ask the mayor to establish such a framework, but this is a very little used right”.

Permanent housing easement

The lawyer of Corsican origin takes up Jean-Félix Acquaviva’s proposal: “a common approach by municipality is not the right scale: regional regulations must be included in urban planning documents such as SRADDET, with the identification of tense territories. construction of second homes creating easements dedicated to permanent housing in the PLU and PLUI”.

To go further, why not introduce quotas for second homes? “In Switzerland, in some municipalities, secondary residences must not exceed 10 or 20% of the residences; however, there are reservations on this point in French and European law”, admits Me Tomasi.

Taxation of capital gains

Notary and MP (Modem) of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Jean-Paul Mattei, member of the Finance Committee, welcomes the fiscal proposals of the mayor of Guéthary, Marie-Pierre Burre-Cassou (SE). And to add: “it would be necessary to create a status of a lessor of naked goods for rent throughout the year”, in order to limit seasonal rentals. The MP designed an amendment suggesting taxing any added value generated by up to 5%, and directing these values ​​to public land establishments able to exercise preemption to build housing. “Part of the enrichment due to real estate speculation must return to the territory so that it can maintain its services and its attractiveness. Such a proposal does not circumvent the property right”.

Encourage secondary residents to settle down

Another clue: pushing secondary residents to live on site year-round. Objective: avoid empty houses during several months of the year, revitalize the city and lower prices.

Anne Barrioz, researcher and author of a thesis on the subject (1), talks about a “housing office” in Haute-Maurienne that sensitizes people to the need to make the transition from tourism to housing within the year. She also cites “the city of Chambéry, which offers access to a coworking space for residents of secondary residences who are settling in permanently”.

Cross-party alliance to have more weight

There is a consensus on one point: all the elected representatives of these tourist areas must unite, whatever their political side, beyond any regionalist vision, to bring loud and clear, in a cross-party way, the voice of tourist territories in parliament . and government

(1) Anne Barrioz, PhD in geography, associated with the EDYTEM laboratory, wrote the thesis “Settling down and living in the high alpine valleys:: life trajectories between attractiveness and adaptability of territories”

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