One in ten homes in France is a second home, concentrated in particular areas of the country, and overwhelmingly owned by French nationals.There are 2.5 million second homes in France and contrary to popular belief less than 10% are in foreign hands.
Of the circa 250,000 second homes in foreign ownership, around a quarter are held by the British, making them the largest group of international owners.
Not surprisingly, at a regional level the largest number of holiday homes in mainland France is located in sun-drenched Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (377,015), swiftly followed by the winter wonderland of Rhône-Alpes (318,098).
However, in percentage terms it is Languedoc-Roussillon that takes the laurels, with 21% of all properties in second ownership, as can be seen from the following table.
|Second Homes by Region|
|Region||No||% of Total|
|Pays de la Loire||165,815||10.7%|
Drill down an administrative level to the department and a more substantial degree of concentration in particular areas is evident.
The department with the highest percentage of properties in second ownership is the Hautes-Alpes, where 45% of residential properties are second homes, mostly of course ski chalets or apartments.
That is also the main explanation of why the mountain departments in France have a comparatively high number of holiday homes - Savoie (38%), Lozère (32%), Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (31%), Pyrénées-Orientales (29%), Ariège (25%), Haute-Savoie (24%), Hautes-Pyrénées (23%) Creuse (20%), and Cantal (20%).
Other departments with a sizeable percentage stock of second homes have a more canicular basis for their attraction as holiday homes - Var (26%), Aude (26%), Vendée (25%), Alpes-Maritimes (23%), Charente-Maritime (22%), Landes (21%), Hérault (19%) and Lot (19%).
The following graphic gives a pictorial representation of this distribution, with the darker colours indicating those departments with the highest percentage of second homes.