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Green Fronts and Green Backs

Volume XX, Issue 22

The Promenade de Paillon in Nice, after the extension
The Promenade de Paillon in Nice, after the extension

NICE IS GETTING EVEN NICER

Nice’s Mayor, Christian Estrosi, can be commended for all the good things he has done and continues to do for the city. On his Facebook page he recently announced the future for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Nice (MAMAC) and the Promenade de Paillon. The plan is to extend the Promenade du Paillon to the north over eight hectares to create a real urban forest, all the while reinforcing the cultural aspect through the complete renovation of the MAMAC and the enhancement of the Library (housed in the Tête Carré).

The MAMAC before and after

The MAMAC before and after

Arial view of the Promonade de Paillon after re-construction

Arial view of the Promonade de Paillon after re-construction

This change in the Niçois landscape is a big deal to Patty Sadauskas, whose apartment has a perfect view over all of it from the fifth floor and her three balconies. This change means tearing down the Nice Acropolis (the Palais des Congrès et des Expositions) that is the least favorite element of her view! And in its place will be park, park and more park. That equates to the eight hectares of green space, a reduction of 1.740 tons of CO2 per year, as well as six to eight decibels of urban noise, one ton of air pollutants per year, and 20 percent of cardiovascular diseases, while preserving biodiversity, recovering rainwater and reviving the sector’s activity.

The Acropolis and Tête Carré seen from Patty's apartment in Nice

The Acropolis and Tête Carré seen from Patty’s apartment

The area around the Tête Carré after

The area around the Tête Carré after

Of the €75 Million invested in this project, €20 Million will be totally dedicated to the unprecedented rehabilitation of an architectural monument, such as the MAMAC, in order to adapt it to 21st century expectations. This ambitious project will launch in the fall of 2023. I know Patty can’t wait! And neither can we!

Watch the video on Mayor Estrosi’s Facebook page.

AMERICANS IN FRANCE—PARIAHS IN BANKING

A new law is coming into effect June 13th that is designed to make it easier for Americans to open bank accounts in France…but fingers crossed! The change is simply that if a person has requested an account and not received a reply within 15 days, they can make an appeal to the Banque de France! The Banque de France then steps in and designates a bank near that person’s residence to open the account. Very interesting! But, guess what? The bank is not obliged to open the account, but it does have to explain to the Banque de France why not!

The Banque de France

We have ourselves to blame for the problems. It’s thanks to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), signed in 2010 as part of the HIRE Act that Americans have become pariahs in the financial industry worldwide. The idea behind the regulations this placed on foreign financial institutions is admirable—to stop money-laundering—but for the banks, are so arduous and expensive that they’d rather deny us than deal with us. So, even opening a bank account has become a big challenge.

According to Article 58 of the Banking Law of January 24th 1984, all French residents are entitled to a French bank account. But, the banks don’t agree. They want to control who their clients are. We can’t blame them, but we can blame our own government for not caring how they affect their citizens living abroad!

Fortunately, we have relationships with banks in Paris and Nice that do accept American customers, and we can facilitate opening an account! See our website for more information about this.

And to become active in the fight against U.S. government regulations that adversely affect us as Expats, visit the American Citizens Abroad site.

Spashpage for Americans Abroad

UNDECLARED BANK ACCOUNTS

Just like Americans have to declare their foreign accounts, so do the French and all French residents. In the U.S., it’s the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts form (FBAR). We’re used to letting the IRS know about any foreign accounts valued at $10,000 or more at any time during the year. As a foreigner living in France, I have to report all my U.S. accounts to France, too.

The FBAR form

With more and more information exchange between countries, getting caught is more likely if you haven’t reported these accounts. Don’t take your chances—there’s no reason not to report them as it’s not a matter of taxing the accounts, only ensuring the money had already been declared. Just like the U.S. has its $10,000 threshold for declaration, France’s minimum is €10,000. And penalties are expensive for non-declaration: €1,500 per account for bank and similar accounts and for investment policies and €10,000 for accounts in certain countries with which France has no tax treaty, or €750 for cryptocurrency accounts if the value is less than €50,000.

Form for the FISC declaration of a Foreign bank account

See the government’s website for more information.

HOUSING PRICES MAY FALL IN FRANCE? I DON’T BELIEVE IT

I will believe it when I see it. The The Fédération Nationale de l’Immobilier (FNAIM) thinks that new energy certificate rules will hit the Paris market and landlords will sell properties with low ratings, rather than spend the money to improve them, to the tune of 15 to 20 percent.

I don’t agree, and think they have a very narrow view of the market and how people behave in supply and demand economics. First off, there are many more reasons for a landlord to not reinvest in their own properties—starting with rent control regulations and the inability to generate enough income from their properties to justify keeping them. The French government keeps biting the hand that feeds them in more ways than this, so they need to look deeper into why they treat those who control the money so badly!

Graph for classifications of energy efficiency for homes in France

Their predictions on the drop of sales has more to do with the currently low supply of inventory and prices staying high for that very reason. Plus, building costs are up, so existing property is still a good investment in such inflationary times. Paris is set for being hit hard, as Haussmannian buildings with single-paned windows tend to have low energy ratings. According to PriceHubble, 33 percent of Paris apartments have ratings so low that they won’t qualify for renting at all.

The Housing Minister, Emmanuelle Wargon, remarked that apartments with low ratings were selling faster than others, and at lower prices. This means the new owners are willing to invest in the improvements. But, that’s true for all properties that need a lot of renovation. Let’s face it, if the property needs a face-lift, then improving their energy rating is just part of the overall renovation process, so it’s not a deal breaker anyway.

Map of Paris showing the locations of the various energy efficency areas

Paris is still Paris. And that means real estate cannot be invented. The city will not go further up, nor further out, and that means property inside the 20 districts will still go up and up and up, in spite of the small costs to bring the energy rating up!

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds in black pants and long black and white coat in her Paris courtyardAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. If you are considering a property purchase in France, don’t do it lightly. Let us help you make the smartest decisions to ensure you make the best investment you can, including setting up a bank account and renovations. Contact us to learn more.

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