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Housing shortage: the building fears a “serious social crisis”

«Save purchasing power!»The president of the Federation of building (FBB) knows how to speak to the French. Less than 5 months before the presidential election, Olivier Salleron, who last week received the 8 candidates declared for the presidential election, at the 9th summit of the construction urges the government and the candidates for the supreme election to restart housing construction. However, the sector has returned to its pre-crisis level with 464,000 building permits accumulated over the past 12 months, if we are to believe the government figures (see graph below).

»READ ALSO – Building: activity at half mast in large cities

But this result is a sham. The sector has only made up for lost time during the period of inactivity and not beyond. The blockages frequently denounced by the profession seem to persist: the difficulty in obtaining permits, to find available land and the increasing weight of construction standards. Added to this is the shortage of labor and materials which lengthen lead times and increase costs. Consequence: the number of housing starts is already leveling off. And Olivier Salleron is campaigning for a Ministry of Construction, attached to Bercy. “We must make housing a great national cause, insists this 53-year-old Périgord knight of the Legion of Honor last week, during a seminar organized by the Pôle Habitat-FFB (home builders, developers, renovators, developers) in Lisbon. If the housing crisis is not resolved quickly, I fear a social crisis in the next 2 to 5 years. She can bring out scarlet vests».

Housing, not a priority for the French

Problem: as often in presidential elections, housing is set aside. And only returns to the front of the stage through controversies such as those over single-family homes. No doubt because, strangely, it does not seem to be one of the main concerns of the French. A recent Odoxa survey, which makes purchasing power their top priority, confirms it. “Purchasing power gain also involves lowering the cost of housing, emphasizes Grégory Monod, president of the Pôle-Habitat-FFB, which represents home builders in particular. Let’s not forget that the French spend 25% of their budget on housing!».

Photo credit: Ministry of Ecological Transition

And all the more so since the Covid crisis has not only weakened the most modest and the youngest, but also revealed a “demotropolization»And a desire of the French to buy more in medium-sized towns, which were once neglected. Result: the price of housing increases and pushes some households to move away. Not to mention the price of land which, in less than 20 years, has almost tripled, according to a study of notaries. “We are calling for a deep reform of property taxation, which today is too favorable to retention», Affirms Olivier Salleron.

»READ ALSO – One in two Parisians wants to move because life is too expensive

The president of the FFB, which pleads for densification, therefore calls for a revival of building permits which can be filed online from January 1, 2022. And faced with the reluctance of some mayors, construction professionals would like the prefect to deliver the famous sesame. As for social housing. Problem: for now, the government prefers to handle the carrot – aid of 1,500 euros per housing – rather than the stick. Even if Jean Castex recently acknowledged that some elected officials “have made a profession of faith to build less». Most “with the abolition of the housing tax and the end of the exemption from the property tax for new housing, mayors no longer have an interest in buildinge ”, deplores a professional.

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