More than 400 €1million homes put on the market in Paris since socialist Francois Hollande elected to power
- France’s super-rich are looking to relocate to ‘wealth-friendly’ countries like Britain
- Recruitment agency for high-paid banking jobs in London sees increase in French candidates
By Ian Sparks
PUBLISHED:10:51 EST, 8 October 2012| UPDATED:10:53 EST, 8 October 2012
France’s luxury property market has hit a selling ‘panic’ as millionaires rush to flee the socialist government’s looming tax hikes, a leading estate agent has revealed.
More than 400 Paris homes worth more than €1million have been put on the market since President Francois Hollande came to power in May – more than double the same period last year.
Many of France’s super-rich want to escape to ‘wealth-friendly’ countries like Britain, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
The exodus has been triggered by a new higher tax of 75 per cent on all earnings over €1million – £780,000 – which will come into force later this year.
They also fear more tough new taxes on moving money overseas and sales of company shares.
Paris estate agent Daniel Feau said: ‘It’s nearly a general panic. Some 400 to 500 residences worth more than €1million have come onto the Paris market since May.
‘And the profile of those who are leaving has changed, from the idle rich to managers of major international corporations and entrepreneurs who are scared of a marginal tax rate of 62.21 percent on sales of stock.’
Thibault de Saint Vincent, president of Barnes France estate agents, added: ‘With the Internet it is now possible to work in any corner of the world.
‘Those who are going abroad fear a future taxes on income and capital movements.’
In London, recruitment agency Astbury Martin – which specialises in highly-paid banking jobs – said it had seen a 51 per cent in applications from French jobseekers.
Managing director Jonathan Nicholson said: ‘There is a definite spike in French-speaking candidates.
‘We have not seen similar increases in candidates from other countries, so it may well be connected to May’s change in government in France.’
A separate survey by website Totaljobs.com revealed 42 percent of French workers were willing to move to the UK, compared to only 32 percent of the global workforce which would be happy to work in France.
And British estate agent Sotherby’s said its French offices sold more than 100 properties over €1.7 million between April and June this year – a marked increase on the same period in 2011.
Sotheby’s French boss Alexander Kraft said: ‘The result of the presidential election has had a real impact on our sales.
‘Now a large number of wealthy French families are leaving the country as a direct result of the proposals of the new government.
‘These properties are then bought up by foreign investors looking for a stable real estate market like France to invest in.
‘It shows the high-end property market is holding up very well, even in these difficult times.’
And a report earlier this year by British estate agent Knight Frank said the tax plans had sent French interest in luxury London homes rocketing.
Inquiries from wealthy French for London homes worth more than five million pounds soared by 30 per cent in the first three months of this year, the statistics showed.
And interest in homes worth between one and five million rose by 11 per cent, it was found.
Liam Bailey, Knight Frank’s global head of residential research, said: ‘Evidence from web search activity backs up a noticeable spike in anecdotal comments from our office network, where French applicants have become much more noticeable in recent months.’
Prime minister David Cameron angered the French in June when he said he would ‘roll out the red carpet to wealthy French citizens and firms who wanted move out and pay their taxes in Britain.
He told the B20 business summit in Mexico: ‘If the French go ahead with a 75 per cent top rate of tax we will roll out the red carpet and welcome more French businesses to Britain and they can pay tax in Britain and pay for our health service and schools and everything else.’
The comments left one French politician so offended he suggested Mr Cameron must have been ‘drunk’ when he made them.
Gallic MP Claude Bartolone, a staunch ally of President Hollande, said: ‘I hope that it was an after-dinner remark and that he didn’t have all his wits about him when he said these things.’
France’s European Affairs Minister Bernard Cazeneuve insisted there was no ‘exodus’, adding: ‘What I can answer to this statement from the British prime minister is that French bosses are patriots.
‘There is a range of measures we will take in favour of business, measures that will support investment and encourage business to stay in France.
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