A gloomy atmosphere for the HLM movement, meeting in Nantes from Tuesday October 3, for the 83rd congress of the Social Union for Housing (USH), a confederation of landlords which represents more than 80% of social housing.
First of all, there is production at half mast. In 2023, the number of approvals, that is to say building authorizations, should be around 95,000 in mainland France and has shown a continuous decline since 2016. It is even for the fourth consecutive year below the bar of 100,000, while, according to the USH, 198,000 social housing units should be built per year until 2040 to respond to demographic changes and reduce poor housing.
At the end of 2022, 2.42 million households were waiting for social housing: a record level, up 7% year-on-year.
Failure of new construction
The HLM movement is today at the heart of the crisis which is shaking the real estate market, with ultimately quite similar problems, marked by difficulties in building, almost everywhere, particularly in tense areas. When developers are doing badly, social landlords are not doing well. The private sector provides, in fact, almost half of new HLM housing. However, sales in new real estate collapsed by 40% over one year, falling back to their 2007 level.
The causes are known. There are, jumbled together: the difficulties in finding land while local elected officials are reluctant to build; the law on the net artificialization of land (ZAN), which confuses the issue a little; but also the rise in interest rates, which keeps many households away from access to property; and the end, in 2024, of “Pinel”, the tax system to support rental investment.
“Divestment of public power”
“The situation we are in today leaves us with the feeling of a real disinvestment of public power in housing policies, a disinvestment which is both material and ideological”deplores Emmanuelle Cosse, the president of the USH.
She denounces the multiple cost-saving measures imposed on the HLM movement since the arrival of Emmanuel Macron as President of the Republic in 2017, to the point that, since this year, there is no longer even any national objective for the production of social housing.
Renovate the existing park
According to her, the social park must face many challenges, without the means keeping up. It must not only build more to meet demand, but also renovate the existing ones in order to comply with new thermal standards in the old ones. Social landlords are not exempt from the timetable set by law, which plans to gradually ban the rental of the most energy-intensive housing: those labeled G from 2025, then F in 2028 and E in 2034.
However, according to the latest estimates, at least 35% of the social housing stock is classified E, F or G. Without state aid, social landlords will not be able to do everything but will have to make choices, in a context of rising rent prices. money. To renovate more, they will build less, estimated the Banque des Territoires, a subsidiary of the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC), in a recent study.
Social housing, largely absent from the draft budget
The presentation of the draft budget for 2024 on September 27 left representatives of the HLM movement hungry for more. “Where the 2021-2022 recovery plan, then the 2023 PLF had enabled the mobilization of 700 million (d’euros) aid for energy renovation, the PLF 2024 provides nothing and further complicates the task of social landlords to meet their obligations in this area.regrets the USH.
In this context, the announcements of the new Minister of Housing, Patrice Vergriete, who will give a speech at the USH congress, are eagerly awaited. The former mayor of Dunkirk, who knows the issue well, promised not to come empty-handed.
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