News Digest: Interest Rates Rise on French Mortgages & Do You Need Another Covid Booster?
A new Covid booster vaccine is now available in France, mortgage interest rates are on the rise, and there’s help for elderly residents looking to make home improvements. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Covid Boosters Now Available
France is rolling out another Covid booster vaccine this week, with two different types of vaccine being offered. The first is a Moderna vaccine that targets both the original strain of the virus and the ‘BA.1’ Omicron sub-variant, and the second is a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that targets the original virus and the Omicron BA.5 and BA.4 sub-variants. The Moderna vaccine is currently being offered throughout France, with the Pfizer vaccine expected to be available from Thursday (Oct 6th). The official recommendations by the French health system are that either vaccine can be administered (regardless of your previous vaccine history), but the Moderna booster is not recommended for people aged under 30.
These booster shots are available to priority groups, which include:
- Anyone over the age of 60
- At-risk individuals over 18, including those with long-term health conditions, immune conditions, and pregnant women.
- Residents of Ehpad/USLD care homes
- Health professionals
- Those living in close contact with the above-mentioned people
The booster vaccines are not mandatory, but they will be free for anyone with a Carte Vitale who is covered by France’s state healthcare. They are available to the above-mentioned groups regardless of how many vaccines you have previously received. However, you shouldn’t get the booster yet if you have recovered from Covid within the last three months or if you have you received your last vaccine within less than six months (this is reduced to three months if you are over 80, suffering from an immune disease, or living in an Ehpad/USLD).
As before, you can make an appointment directly with your doctor or online through Doctolib.fr. If you are planning to get an annual flu shot, doctors are encouraging patients to have both at the same time (one in each arm).
2. Mortgage Interest Rates Rise
France’s fixed-rate full-term mortgages have long benefitted from low-interest rates, especially compared to those offered in the UK and US, but with record levels of inflation throughout 2022, the average rates have been inching up over the past year. The Bank of France interest rates increased once again on October 1, with the average for a fixed-rate loan with a term of 20 years or more increasing now standing at 3.05% (it was previously at 2.29%)1.
With reports of fewer mortgage loan applications being approved and eligibility criteria tighter than ever, we highly recommend seeking expert advice if you’re looking to secure financing for a French property. Filling in our mortgage application form is a good place to start.
3. Government Grants for Elderly Home Improvements
The French government already offers grants for homeowners looking to improve the energy efficiency of their properties (known as MaPrimeRenov), but it was recently announced that new grants will be available for older people and those with disabilities from 2023. Known as MaPrimeAdapt, the grants will fund up to 70% of the renovation for works that are carried out in order to adapt an existing property for elderly living.
Potentially any kind of work may qualify, providing that it serves a practical purpose, but common examples might be installing an accessible bathtub, adding access ramps or a stair lift, or adding assisting aids in the bathroom or other rooms. The grants will be available for work carried out on properties more than 15 years old.
As with MaPrimeRenov, a dedicated website will be launched to handle applications – we’ll keep you updated as we know more.
4. Our Visas & Residency Webinar is NEXT WEEK!
There’s just one more week to go until our next FrenchEntrée webinar! This special edition Moving to France: Visas and Residency webinar will take place on Thursday, 13th October at 4:00 pm UK Time (GMT+1), when I’ll be joined by visas expert Diana Nyerges from French Connections HCB to tackle all your many questions concerning visas and residency in France.
Whether you’re a second-home owner, a Brit post-Brexit, or an American, Australian, Canadian, or other non-EU citizen – this webinar will give you all the information you need to start your expat journey. Not only will Diana be answering all your most frequently asked questions (and there are lots of them!), but there will also be the opportunity to put your questions to her live during the webinar.
You can sign up for the free webinar here and send your questions in advance to me at [email protected].
I’ll look forward to seeing you all there!
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