15 changes in 2024 for France that will affect your budget

Utility costs, insurance premiums, healthcare, taxes: we look at what is forecast

The cost of living crisis saw high inflation and rising prices in 2023
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Inflation and price rises should be less marked in 2024 than in recent years and property tax will rise less steeply in most areas – but many family budgets in France are still likely to be stretched.

We look at 15 points affecting households this coming year.

1 - Inflation

Inflation is expected to continue its downward trend, from around 4.5% year-on-year in the last quarter of 2023 to around 2% in 2025, according to Banque de France estimates.

2 - Taxes

Taxe foncière will increase by around 3.9%, as opposed to 7.1% in 2023.

The expected increase should be lower in 2024 due to the effect of inflation on the theoretical rental values used to calculate taxe foncière.

When these values are lower, they have a moderating effect on the tax.

Read more: Taxe foncière French property tax: what rises to expect in 2024?

Households will benefit from a second full year without taxe d’habitation being chargeable on main homes but more second-home owners will face a surcharge as over 2,000 extra communes have been permitted to levy this – at rates from 5% to 50%, although they are not obliged to do so.

Many of these communes are in the south-east, the Alps or along the Atlantic coast.

Read more: Explainer: France’s taxe d’habitation property tax

Income tax bands will also rise with inflation so most people should pay the same or less, depending on salary increases.

3 - Energy prices

A rise in gas prices linked to increased distribution costs is predicted on July 1: around 6.3% for heating, and 11.3% for hot water and cooking.

Regulated electricity prices, which are usually re-evaluated in February and August, are set to rise as the effects of France’s ‘tariff shield’ are gradually lifted, though the government insists this will not be in double figures. Market prices are starting to come down.

As last year, an ‘energy cheque’ will be sent to lower-income families to help pay the bills, probably in the region of €50 to €300, depending on household incomes.

4 - Cost of living

“We are not, I hope, going to see cost-of-living increases on the scale that we have seen in the last couple of years, however we will not be seeing inflation back as low as we were used to in earlier years,” said Grégory Caret of leading consumer magazine UFC-Que Choisir.

“We have just had two complicated years, especially with the energy rises since 2021, although the shield helped limit this for French households.

“From 2022, we saw food prices rise by 25% over 18 months, partly linked to bad harvests, then the war in Ukraine, which also affected fuel prices.

“I do not see prices reducing but any increase should be slower than before.”

5 - Food prices

The Economy Ministry claims a new law moving annual negotiations between large food suppliers and supermarkets from March to January will see lower prices on the shelves agreed as early as possible in the year.

Nonetheless, food prices are still at risk due to poor harvests due to previous droughts and floods.

Mr Caret said food has become a larger factor in household budgets in recent years, and he did not see this fact changing significantly in 2024.

To help with food costs, workers’ tickets restaurant food vouchers will, contrary to previous plans, still be usable for all kinds of food, not just food that is ready to eat.

6 - Minimum wage

In some cases, salary rises have helped cushion effects, as well as significant rises to the Smic minimum wage – €1,406 net in January – but more people than ever are now earning the Smic.

7 - Pensions

French basic pensions and Aspa pension top-up are also rising by 5.2%, and family allowance rises 4.6% in April.

8 - Insurance costs

Insurance premiums are expected to iIncrease by 5% or more, with insurers citing higher healthcare costs, more home damage – for example, from shrinkage after drought – and the high costs of vehicle parts.

“The Economy Ministry is optimistic, but this is contrary to the reality of the figures and developments,” said Mr Caret.

“Climate change is also going to bring new costs. We will have to stop using so much packaging and we all have to make our activities greener, but that requires new investment, at least in the short term.”

9 - Fuel prices

Energy giant Total­Energies, which supplies fuel to 3,000 service stations in France, has pledged to continue its cap at the pumps so prices do not reach €2/litre.

10 - Fuel allowance

A €100 fuel allowance will be available to lower-income drivers who need their vehicle to get to work, should prices reach €1.95/litre.

Read more: More than a million extra people to get France’s next fuel cheque

11 - Healthcare

France’s free or subsidised healthcare top-up insurance plan CSS will now be automatically offered to people on certain benefits for disability benefits, the unemployed, or to people on youth training schemes.

12 - Transport

Two-wheelers on the road from before 2017 will have to undergo a roadworthiness check, at around €50.

Many people buying new cars are also likely to see higher penalty charges for ‘polluting’ vehicles, now levied on most petrol, but not hybrid, vehicles.

A flat-rate monthly pass at about €49 for use on local buses and trains is being considered for summer 2024.

Read more: Flat rate rail pass could be introduced in France next summer

13 - Renovations

People with poorly insulated homes will have improved access to grants, with the maximum doubled to €70,000.

Older people wanting adaptations to stay in their own homes will benefit from a new simplified scheme to obtain aid, MaPrimeAdapt.

Eco-grants are now available to install air-conditioning.

Read more: What help is there to adapt homes in France for old age?

14 - Interest-free loans

The interest-free loan for home-buyers is continuing, contrary to previous plans.

It will now provide up to €20,000 more and be available to more people, with income ceilings raised and extra areas of the country covered.

Read more: Interest-free property loans to be available to more buyers in France

15 - House prices

House prices are predicted to continue to fall slightly as the year begins, the level depending on region, and it is thought recent increases in mortgage rates will stabilise.

Read more: From +12% to -9.8%: how French property prices have changed in year