Lerins & BCW
Can anyone (including foreigners) own and occupy real estate in your jurisdiction (including shares in property owning companies)? Are there any restrictions?
No restrictions, except a verification that the purchase funds have not been obtained by a money laundering operation.
Are there restrictions on lending for the purchase of real estate by foreign companies? If so briefly give an outline?
No. The loan transaction will be submitted to French law only if the lender is established in France.
Please provide a short summary of the fees and costs (including tax) relating to buying real estate in your jurisdiction.
The deed of acquisition of a real estate property must be drafted by a notary, which fees are roughly 1% of the acquisition price plus a transfer duty payable by the purchaser, generally 5.8%, total cost being usually around 7% with the publication fees. To this cost can be added VAT at a rate of 20%, on certain old business buildings if election is made by the seller. The seller is obliged to provide the purchase with technical diagnosis from an expert concerning the possible presence of parasites infesting the building, the exact surface of the property, its electric and ecological status and some specific items depending on the land concerned. These can generally be carried out for a cost of between 2K€ to 8K€ + VAT (if due). The amount depends on the actual size of the property and the building on it.
Are there tax breaks or other incentives for foreigners to buy real estate in your jurisdiction? If so what are they?
New buildings and building lands are subject to VAT at 20% + a reduced transfer duty of 0.7%.
For social buildings VAT rate is reduced to 5.5% or 10%, depending on the level of the rent. Please note that these incentives are not reserved for foreign investors.
How is the ownership of Real Estate evidenced in your jurisdiction?
All real estate acquisition deeds have to be registered in an administrative land registry. Before this transcript, the buyer is not officially the owner to third parties. This publication is done by the professional in charge of the acquisition act: a notary or an attorney at law.
Is it possible to keep the identity of owners of real estate confidential in your jurisdiction?
No. Except if the real estate is acquired by a “société civile immobilière”: a specific French civil company that may be composed of physical persons and any company, which will not appear on the administrative land registry. But some research could be done to obtain their complete identity.