Rents resist inflation, but the charges will inflate the bill

In recent months, the available rental supply has fallen by 10%, according to the real estate portal Bien’Ici. Francois BOUCHON/François Bouchon / Le Figaro

ANALYSIS – Thanks to the tariff shield, the increase is limited to 1.3% on one. But that might not last.

Tenants can blow. Despite galloping inflation (6.2% in February over one year) which is undermining their budget, rents have remained generally wise in 2022 in France. They increased by 1.4% for apartments, on a national average (1.2% for houses), according to the Clameur observatory, which aggregates the figures of the main real estate networks.

The rents do not increase or increase very little”, confirms Jean-Michel Camizon, president of Clameur. Their evolution differs relatively little from that observed over the past five years, all types of housing combined (1.3%).

This moderation is surprising. The rise in consumer prices traditionally has a direct effect on the evolution of rents. These can be reassessed each year on the anniversary date, according to the rent revaluation index (IRL). However, this figure varies with the evolution of the cost of living.

This has not been the case this year. Indeed, to limit the effect of rising prices on rental prices, the government introduced a “rent shield” this summer. This, which came into force in the third quarter of 2022, limits the increase applicable by lessors to a maximum of 3.5%. “The tools put in place worked” recognizes Jean-Michel Camizon.

This lull in prices is not destined to last. On the one hand, the moderation mechanism must end in the second quarter of 2023. Although a review clause was negotiated between real estate professionals and the government when the rent shield was put in place, no meeting you have been fixed.

Energy cost

On the other hand, expenses will increase the bill for tenants. Thus the increase in charges linked to the increase in the cost of energy, which will be re-invoiced to them. “These expenses have not yet been passed on in their expenses, but they will be, and this will weigh on the receipt”, continues the president of Clameur.

The condominiums benefited from rate protection for gas and electricity, but this was not total, and the condominiums had to advance the funds.

This is not the only difficulty that tenants may face. In recent months, the available rental offer has melted like snow in the sun (-10% according to the property advertisement portal Bien’Ici). According to some professionals, rental bans on thermal colanders (rated G, F, and E) would encourage owners to sell rather than rent.

In addition, the rise in prices erodes returns and discourages candidates for rental investment, in a context where the cost of money is rising. Some point to the rent control (in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, for example), which discourages landlords. “The signals are not favorable for donors», confirms Loïc Cantin, president of the Fnaim. Added to this is the decline in sales of new homes (-24% in 2022) which is contributing to weakening the available supply.

Demand is increasing very sharply, which is putting the rental stock under pressure. “Difficulties in accessing credit are pushing some households to abandon their purchase plans and turn to rental properties”continues Loïc Cantin.

Witness the express relocation times almost everywhere in France. The time that a property spends on the market before finding a buyer has been divided “by two, even by three” according to Jean-Michel Camizon. These unprecedented delays clearly show the tension that reigns on the rental market, despite the wisdom of rents due to various protection mechanisms.

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