For new housing, getting out of the game still seems complicated. Admittedly, the year 2022 will have been positive: 468,000 housing permits granted at the end of 2021 and 482,000 a year later. That is an increase of 3%. But two bad news tarnish this encouraging performance.
The first: the last quarter of permits. It is catastrophic! Their number has plummeted by almost 8%, according to data released Friday by the Ministry of Ecological Transition! And this, just after reaching a peak in August, at 522,800 authorized dwellings. This peak is not indicative of a construction frenzy, but follows an influx of permit applications at the end of 2021, before the entry into force of more ambitious environmental regulations (RE2020) for new construction. “The year 2022 was very trying for craftsmen despite an activity still present (…) but concern is mounting as we may be on the eve of a recession“, declared Jean-Christophe Repon, president of the Confederation of crafts and small building companies (Capeb), who expects weak growth in the first half of 2023, or even negative in the second.
The investigation of these requests during the year explains the inflation of the figures. The high number of authorizations during the summer is also due to the fact that the municipalities had until August to issue building permits for housing eligible for sustainable construction aid as part of the recovery plan.
The second piece of bad news is the drop in housing starts, that is to say housing units started. Their evolution has since mid-2021 been disconnected from that of building permits. Their number stood at 376,200 during the year, less than in 2021 or before the pandemic. But the ministry, which warns that its statistics in this area “involve a significant amount of uncertainty“, recorded a shudder in December.