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How to know which French housing zone you live in and what it changes

The zones reflect how competitive the local property market is and can lead to differences in your eligibility for certain benefits

Paris is classified as being in Zone Abis for property, meaning the market is the most competitive there Pic: Sergii Molchenko / Shutterstock

France is divided into five different property market zones that show how competitive the market is in a given area. These are called zones géographiques

The more competitive an area is deemed to be, the higher a person’s income can be when claiming for certain housing-related benefits. Note, these benefits generally apply to people with low to moderate incomes. 

The zones are, in order of most competitive to least competitive: Abis, A, B1, B2, C. 

In zone Abis, which denotes the zone where the housing market is the most competitive, there is a very high demand for property (either buying or renting) compared to supply. 

Price also plays a factor in determining which zone an area is placed in, as the market is also deemed to be highly competitive if the average person is priced out of buying or renting. 

Properties in zones Abis, A and B1 are considered to be in areas of high competitiveness (zones tendues). In these areas, rent prices are often more strictly regulated and increases usually limited. 

How to check which zone your city / commune is in

Action Logement, a scheme to enable private sector employees to be housed in better conditions, offers a tool on its website to find out what zone each city or commune is in. 

Find a link to it here

Type in either the name of your city or commune or its postcode to the search bar at the top to see which zone géographique it is in.

Examples of places in each zone

Zone Abis: Includes Paris and 76 communes in Yvelines, Hauts de-Seine, Seine-St-Denis, Val-de-Marne and Val-d’Oise

Zone A: Includes the Côte d'Azur (French riviera), the area in France close to Geneva, certain towns and cities where rents and housing prices are very high, such as Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Montpellier, Chantilly, Lyon, etc. 

Zone B1: Includes places such as Dijon, Nîmes, Colomiers, Bordeaux, Tours, Angers, Metz, Biarritz, etc. 

Zone B2: Includes Carcassonne, Angoulême, Bergerac, Brest, Béziers, etc. 

Zone C: Other smaller towns and villages with low demand for property 

Side note for anyone wondering about the word ‘bis’

This little word can also be found on house or apartment numbers. For example, you may find a 14bis Rue Gambetta. It is added when, for example, a new property is built in a street that already contains a 14 and 15 Rue Gambetta. Instead of renumbering the whole street, a 14bis is created. 

It is the same as in the above list. The Abis zone was created later, and instead of re-labelling all Zone A areas to Zone B, the new category of Zone Abis was added to sit above Zone A. 

What difference do the zones make?

The first use of the zones is that it enables people to quickly see where property prices are likely to be higher or lower, based on supply and demand. 

Anyone looking to rent or buy in France is going to find far higher prices in Zone Abis compared to Zone C, for example. 

The other major difference is the access to certain housing benefits. 

The zone a property is in determines:

  • The maximum income a person can earn to be entitled to social housing (HLM). See more here.
  • The maximum income to qualify for a zero-interest loan (PTZ) or a social housing loan (PAS). See more here.
  • For tenants, whether they have the right to certain tax reductions (based on income) and also the maximum rental price in the area
  • For landlords, the amount they can receive in tax reductions if they are signed up to the Loc’Avantages scheme. This allows landlords to receive tax breaks for renting out their properties at a price lower than the market rate. 

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