France would need 518,000 housing units per year between 2024 and 2040 to respond to socio-demographic trends and the imperatives of ecological transition. This is much more than the average of 430,000 new housing units authorized per year since the election of Emmanuel Macron. This is what emerges from a complete study unveiled this Tuesday on the occasion of the kick-off of the 83rd HLM congress of the Social Union for Housing (USH) in Nantes, one of the major meetings for social housing stakeholders in France.
The study, carried out by the specialized firm HTC on order from the USH, reports a need for 116,000 annual housing units to allow the “loosening of households”, that is to say to support the drop in the number of people per housing unit under the main effect of the increase single-parent families and the aging of the population. The study also plans, in particular, 100,000 housing units per year to “respond to the continued demand for second homes”, 33,000 housing units to compensate for the disappearance of the most energy-intensive homes linked to the ban on renting thermal strainers, 74,000 housing units to absorb the increase in migratory flows and 23,000 housing units to absorb the natural balance (births).
But the greatest part of the needs is linked to the reduction of poor housing: 122,000 new housing units per year would be necessary to try to house people who are homeless or living in substandard housing. The response to housing needs involves the “production of new housing” but also the “putting existing housing back on the market”, specifies the HTC firm.
Social housing in very insufficient number
Furthermore, the study also looked at the needs for social housing, therefore meeting the criteria for awarding HLM. This figure is estimated at 198,000 additional social housing units between 2024 and 2040 to meet the challenges, or 38% of the overall housing need. For comparison, just under 100,000 social housing units were approved (authorized) in 2021 then 2022. And they should be even fewer in 2023, just over 85,000, according to Patrice Vergriete, Minister Delegate for Housing.
“We measure the scale of the task,” reacts Emmanuelle Cosse, president of the USH and former environmentalist Minister of Housing in the government of Manuel Valls. The study helps to challenge this idea that there is no real need for new housing. You have to be blind to keep saying that. On the contrary, all the work carried out over the past ten years must be revised upwards. »
“There is a big problem in the country”
Present at the opening of the congress, economist Bernard Coolos insists on the specific needs of large metropolises. “There is no shift towards less attractive territories. The vacant housing in Corrèze will not accommodate applicants from Ile-de-France, that’s not how it works, it’s unrealistic,” he warns.
Robin Rivaton, investor and essayist, for his part, emphasizes the need not to count on an increase in cohabitation to resolve part of the deficit. “In Ile-de-France, today we have many more students who live with their parents or share accommodation, but it is a choice by default. People want to live more isolated, more individual. We can deplore it but that’s how it is. We must therefore have stock and build more,” he believes. “All the housing stakeholders are today aligned to say that there is a big problem in the country. The State must hear them. My concern is the time needed to restart the system,” says Eric Piolle, mayor of Grenoble (EELV).
The Minister responsible for Housing, Patrice Vergriete, is due to speak at the closing of the USH congress on Thursday afternoon in Nantes. He said he had sent proposals for a “confidence pact” to the confederation last weekend, without revealing their content.
HLM organizations house around 10.2 million people in France. One in two French people live or have lived in public housing.
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