FRANCE will levy higher taxes on second-home owners in a bid to cut property prices in tourist hotspots.

According to a report in The Times, taxes will be hiked 60 per cent in some parts of the country as a means of putting pressure on holiday home owners and freeing up the housing stock for locals.

The move will be of interest to campaigners in parts of Wales where similar housing pressures have been exacerbated by the growth in demand for second homes. As many as four-in-ten properties in some Gwynedd villages are now second homes and stand empty for much of the year or are used as short-term holiday lets.

Communities there say home ownership is near impossible for local people who struggle with the twin problems of housing affordability and availability, while the issue is compounded by feelings that the rise in second homes is eroding village life and the Welsh language in those areas.

Last week, The National examined the various options available to the Welsh Government, which this summer said it would legislate to protect communities and tackle their housing problems.

Such strategies could include bans, as seen in Switzerland; or taxation, like the Empty Homes Tax introduced in Vancouver.

But the Times report says rural areas of France will be unaffected by the tax hikes, which is instead likely to be directed at coastal areas and the nation's Alpine ski resorts. Councils in Lyon and Bordeaux have already started raising taxes on second homes.


The Times said the blame for housing pressures in these areas is not just placed on foreign owners – some 86,000 British people own a second home in France – but also on wealthy Parisians who "have been buying second homes in record numbers since last year's lockdowns".

The newspaper also reports several instances where estate agencies in the French Basque country have been vandalised recently with graffiti that says "Parisians, go home".

Any government interventions in Wales are likely to be a long way off – ministers are yet to consult on any proposals – but the new taxes across the Channel are sure to give some food for thought when the Senedd reconvenes after the summer recess.

  • This article originally appeared on our sister site The National.