“We created a system of public overspending for collective inefficiency. » By taunting in the magazine Challenges, in May, the housing policy in France, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, did not appease a sector plunged into a brutal crisis, amplified by a sharp and rapid rise in interest rates. With this in mind, the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, and the Minister responsible for housing, Olivier Klein, must make public, Monday, June 5, the measures resulting from the work of the National Council for Refoundation-Housing.
A few figures illustrate the current slump: in the first quarter, reservations of new homes with property developers collapsed by 41% and sales of old homes in Ile-de-France fell by almost a quarter (-22%), compared to the same period in 2022.
Not only the surge in the average mortgage rate, which rose from 1.06% in December 2021 to 3.28% in May 2023, had a powerful impact on the buyers’ budget, but the banks tightened the credit tap. Households, blocked in their home ownership project, have no choice but to remain tenants. The rental market is stalling, and more than 2.4 million households are now waiting for social housing, an unprecedented level.
Could this crisis be an opportunity to overhaul a public housing policy that is too ineffective, “a sector where supply, investment and demand are financed”while “Despite everything, we produce less, and it’s more expensive than elsewhere”according to the charge of the Head of State?
Difficult access to the property
The results of this public policy remain, in fact, very imperfect, due to a problem of access to affordable housing. Property prices have doubled between 2000 and 2017. Nearly a third of young low-income households were homeowners in 1973, compared to 16% barely forty years later.
“Contrary to a well-established belief, France is, after Germany and Switzerland, one of the European countries where the rate of owners is the lowest”note the circle of reflection Terra Nova. However, since the 1970s, “the average rent has doubled in relation to the income of tenants”. This mechanism leads to a dismal record: more than four million poorly housed people. And, among them, 330,000 homeless people, a number that has more than doubled in ten years, according to the Abbé Pierre Foundation.
Faced with the challenge of providing everyone with decent and affordable housing, the State is mobilizing through significant housing aid (5.5 million beneficiaries, 20 billion euros in benefits each year) and financial support (aid to stone, low VAT, tax benefits) to a vast stock of social housing, where 5.6 million households live. Open in theory to three quarters of the population, this park only manages, in reality, to accommodate the most disadvantaged part of it.
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