INTERVIEW – The real estate agent and the deputy suggest ways of reconciling health security and resumption of activity in the long term. They take the opportunity to give us their perspective on the news.
When it comes to the facilitator Stephane Plaza to form a duo, we spontaneously think of Karine Le Marchand. It is also with his great friend that he is currently staying, until the work at home is finished, as we can see on his Instagram account. But in a more professional way, the real estate agent and co-founder of the network that bears his name, recently approached the deputy LREM Mickaël Kinda, president of the National Housing Council. The goal? Encourage the resumption of property visits and show that it is possible to reconcile health security and property activity in the long term.
If many things separate the young fifty (since this summer) and the young thirty (since Thursday), this atypical pair has been formed thanks to social networks. The deputy readily admits having a little less followers on Instagram than the host (16,000 against 460,000) but both explain how to manage their account live and were therefore able to exchange easily and find that they shared the same approach on their favorite subject. While awaiting (this Tuesday) his meeting with the Minister of Housing for Stéphane Plaza and his bill “Rent with confidence” (probably in January) for Mickaël Nogal, these two real estate experts confide in Figaro when real estate agencies reopen their doors to the public and visits are once again possible.
Le Figaro – How did you experience this second confinement?
Stéphane Plaza – For our job, we could continue to work, to estimate but not to sell. From there, I preferred to stop all my TV shoots when I was allowed to continue them. I wanted to make a strong gesture because you have to be civic and remember that health must come first. But I have not been inactive for all that because this period must be that of permanent adaptation. I took the opportunity to develop a “click & reserve” mandate. This is to allow everyone to visit a property virtually, before confirming their interest and then book a physical visit to consider a transaction.
Mickaël Nogal – Since the onset of the health crisis, I have been responsible within the majority for making the link between parliamentarians, the government and economic players. For this second confinement, I therefore continued to work and with my responsibilities in housing, I consulted a lot with stakeholders in the sector. We have started talking to Stéphane Plaza on social networks. I would like to salute his decision to stop filming and to focus on health issues in order to speak of responsibility. No one has control of the situation or great visibility even if the President of the Republic has just given us a little.
Now that the branches are open to the public and tours can resume, what do you think of the rules that apply? In particular the limitation to a visitor and to purchases of main residences?
M. N. – It is obviously a very good thing that activity is resuming. But it should be understood that this is not a normal opening where everything resumes as before. In particular, I call for continuing to make maximum use of teleworking. Visits with the new health protocol do not prevent us from continuing to use all the technological tools making it possible to limit contact. The market needs to get back to business, and one of the restrictions I would like to see lifted is that visits are limited to the purchase of a primary residence.
S. P. – It is true that this principle of the principal residence seems to me difficult to manage and to enforce. It is not easy to be sure of the use that will be made of the accommodation. On the other hand, if I know how to be teasing, I will apply and enforce the health instructions strictly in my agencies. Nobody is supposed to ignore the law. The main thing for us is to be able to resume visits and if there is only one buyer there, I imagine that it will mainly be women! Nothing prevents other people involved in the transaction from following the visit remotely by video.
How do you imagine the recovery of the real estate market, will it be comparable to the first deconfinement?
M. N. – One thing is certain: interest in real estate never falters and a good number of projects are postponed and not canceled. This is not necessarily the case in many other economic sectors that I am also following closely. Despite this big advantage, the question of household solvency will arise with income losses. Beyond partial unemployment, public aid is planned in particular for the self-employed and SMEs as well as beneficiaries of APL or RSA but it will be a difficult time for many people.
S. P. – The period has little to do with the release of the first confinement where activity was in full swing. There was no urban exodus but even before the reconfinement, thethe prices had started to fall and access to credit became more difficult. We will therefore have to adjust to the prices. And we must also keep in mind that the time of year is not very conducive to movement. Without forgetting that we will not benefit from an engine that had been running at full speed after the first confinement: that of couples who have strengthened and sought to live together or those who have been shattered. But I think that from the spring, the market will leave with a need for greenery and space stronger than ever.
What lasting traces can the health crisis leave in real estate?
S. P. – Nobody chose this situation but now you have to adapt and work differently. We really need to establish a remote working protocol. I work with my teams to help them humanize the meetings over the phone and take care of the presentation videos. The physical visit remains very important, we do not buy without it. But maybe in the future we will do less. Teleworking will undoubtedly take hold for a long time, just like coworking which I tested recently and found quite enjoyable. It is simply necessary that it is not for every day and it is necessary to propose a maximum of solutions because the remote work is lived very differently by the ones and the others.
M. N. – When you live in a relaxed area with sufficient space, it is possible to set up an office at home and this trend will undoubtedly develop. In Paris and in the big metropolises, coworking spaces will rather meet this need. And these workspaces should also develop on the outskirts of large cities. These developments are a reminder of the link between the office and the home. The transformation of offices into housing is a subject that is close to my heart and in the future, buildings must be as flexible as possible to facilitate these changes in use.
In recent news, our Internet users have reacted enormously with the upcoming ban on gas heating in new buildings. Do you understand their dissatisfaction?
M. N. – What is frowned upon is that some imagine that these measures mean that what was done before was wrong. These gas heaters were authorized and even subsidized for some, hence the impression of a contradictory injunction. We have experienced the same phenomenon with diesel which was encouraged in the past while today we favor other types of fuels, less polluting. In fact, we want to move towards a society that is more respectful of the environment and that requires this type of measure. Without forgetting the question of energy sovereignty which is not guaranteed with gas.
S. P. – With the idea of old electric heaters in mind, there is sure to be a fear of seeing your bill explode. But things have changed a lot and it seems to me that there are still fewer accidents than with gas.
»READ ALSO – Gas heating prohibited in new housing from 2021
A survey published last week shows that the French are more and more satisfied with their furniture agent but continue to find the fees too high. What do you think?
S. P. – You are handing me a pole because my network came out on top in most of the categories of this survey! Regarding the commissions, I think this is a false debate. They are free, some networks have launched prices, others at 2% and we are still there. I work on a life project for my clients, we are in a society where we have to provide more and more services and therefore pay them.
»READ ALSO – Why the prices of real estate agents are a problem for customers
And what is your view on the regulation of rents, for which a few additional cities have just applied?
S. P. – So there, I risk not being in phase with Mickaël, but to observe him on the ground, I do not agree with this device. First of all, it is complicated and not necessarily clear. The principle of rent supplements is very vague and therefore you never know whether a rent that exceeds the ceiling is justified or not. In addition, this method is used in theory to facilitate access to housing for tenants. However, investors who do not want it often prefer to sell and therefore we end up with less housing available for rent.
M. N. – We must avoid Manichean views on this subject. Supervision may be a short-term solution, but the only long-term answer lies in construction and renovation to boost the supply of housing. We trust elected officials to set up this system on a case-by-case basis, as needed. I regret that some take an ideological stance and demand this framework without prior market study. In Toulouse, for example, where I worked with elected officials, the metropolis felt that the supervision would not be relevant given the large number of constructions in progress, generated in particular by tax incentive systems. We must encourage the French to invest in rental housing. This is how we can lower the rents.
»READ ALSO – The rent control makes a new flop