In the opinion of professionals, housing, in particular new buildings, is the great forgotten part of the presidential campaign. “We are on very technical subjects, and it is difficult for candidates to put forward credible proposals in one minute on television”, laments Hervé Legros, CEO and founder of the Alila group, a promoter carrying out more than half of its activity in social housing.
Complicated situation in the metropolises
In 2021, new construction has however returned to growth, after, it is true, a very special year 2020. However, the statistics must be put into perspective. In the collective, the marketing of new apartments (109,000) thus increased by 15.5% in 2021, but remains down by more than 10% compared to 2019, that is to say before the health crisis, according to data from the French Building Federation (FFB), published Thursday, February 24.
The situation is even worse in tight areas, such as the Paris region, with new home sales falling by a quarter between 2019 and 2021. The same trend is observed for housing estates: sales increased by 8% last year. last year, but are down nearly 24% over three years.
The dream of the pavilion with garden
Only the market for single-family homes excluding subdivisions is doing well. It increased by 21.5% in 2021, with 139,000 units sold, its highest level in ten years. The desire of the French to be owners of a pavilion with a garden is undeniable, in the new as in the old. According to the index produced by INSEE and notaries, the price of old houses rose by 9% last year, on a national average, while the price of apartments rose by 4.6%.
A catch-up effect
For 2022, building turnover should increase by more than 7%, to return to its volume of activity before the health crisis, thanks to the increase in authorizations for new housing last year and housing starts. . But the improvement could be short-lived, professionals fear. “After three years of decline, we are mainly recording a catch-up effect”, believes Grégory Monod, the president of the housing division of the FFB.
According to him, several clouds are gathering over the area. There are uncertainties about purchasing power, the decline in credit production, but also the rise in the price of materials and the entry into force of the new environmental regulations (RE2020), which would in total generate an additional cost of construction assessed between 5% and 10%.
How to revive the construction of social housing?
The reluctance of mayors to build
Developers also highlight the difficulties in obtaining building permits. “Many mayors do not want new housing because they do not have the financial means to create the necessary equipment that goes with it, such as schools or roads”, judge the CEO of Alila.
He also points out a number of paradoxes. “The law imposes the principle of zero net artificialisation of the soil, while the French want to live in individual houses and buildings must come out of the ground to house additional families. The need is to densify and elevate without shocking public opinion,” he adds, calling in particular for the creation of a full-fledged ministry for housing.
In 2018, the Elan law wanted to create a “supply shock”, with in particular a simplification of town planning rules. “It didn’t happen. We don’t build more, or cheaper,” notes MP LR Thibault Bazin, author of a very critical report. Whoever wins the presidential election, the subject will inevitably come back to the fore.