The government unveils technical measures to deal with the housing crisis

Building facades, April 27, 2023 in Paris (AFP/Archives/JOEL SAGET)

Extension but tightening of the zero-rate loan (PTZ) to promote home ownership, rental aid but end of the Pinel device… The government unveiled on Sunday evening a series of technical provisions, without shock measures, to try to stem the housing crisis.

This plan drawn from the discussions of the National Council for Refoundation (CNR), a series of thematic consultations wanted by Emmanuel Macron, was to be announced Monday afternoon by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. Matignon unveiled the essentials on Sunday evening.

On housing, expectations are huge and unanimous. The number of households waiting for social housing (2.42 million) has never been so high and the number of homeless people has climbed to 330,000.

Real estate professionals, associations, social landlords: the housing world as a whole showed the same impatience to see the executive act.

Since the end of November, recognized personalities from the world of the sector have collected grievances and proposals on three subjects: “how to give back to the French people the power to live?”, “reconcile France with the production of new housing” and “make housing l vanguard of the ecological transition”.

Three notebooks were given to the Minister Delegate for Cities and Housing, Olivier Klein, containing nearly 200 proposals.

The government has retained a series of technical provisions intended to respond to all aspects of the crisis, but without shock measures such as the supervision of land prices, one of the strong proposals from the CNR.

On sensitive subjects, such as the overhaul of the taxation of furnished tourist accommodation, accused of aggravating the housing crisis everywhere in France, major projects will also be “open”, assured Matignon.

“It is not in one go that we solve the entire housing policy”, specified the entourage of Elisabeth Borne, ensuring to touch “a little on all the levers” and to act at the same time on the structural and cyclical aspect of this crisis.

– Pinel ineffective –

On paper, the government has five objectives: to promote home ownership and rental, support the production and renovation of social housing, relaunch construction and amplify the energy renovation of the private sector.

To help households acquire their homes in a context of rising rates, the PTZ, which was to end at the end of 2023, will be extended until 2027. But the system will be refocused on “new collective housing” in areas tense and in all housing in relaxed areas, subject to renovation.

Another measure: the monthly payment for the revision of the wear rate will be extended until the end of 2023 in order to prevent this rate from “becoming a blockage”.

The development of the “real solidarity lease”, which makes it possible to acquire cheaper housing without owning the land, will also be “supported”, assured Matignon, by revising the resource ceilings upwards.

In order to promote access to rental, the government has chosen to stop the Pinel system at the end of 2024, deemed ineffective, to focus on “intermediate rental housing”, i.e. housing which, without being social, allows moderate rents.

This system reserved for tense areas will be open to around a hundred additional municipalities, currently located in relaxed areas.

The “Visale” guarantee, which makes it possible to obtain a rental deposit from Action Logement in order to be able to rent accommodation, will also be extended to “more than 2 million people” by 2027, against 1 million since 2018.

An additional envelope of 160 million over five years will also be devoted to the “Housing first” system, which consists in granting permanent housing to people who are poorly housed.

Measures have also been announced for social housing but must still be the subject of a “pact” with social landlords. The aim is to help them renovate their housing stock, invest in the production of housing and support their own funds.

To relaunch new construction, which is currently at a standstill, the government plans to have Caisse des Dépôts and Action Logement buy back 47,000 homes that could not be sold from developers.

Finally, to accelerate the energy renovation of buildings, the MaPrimeRénov’ system will be reinforced, with 1,300 “France Rénov” counters against 450 currently and an increase in “Rénov’ guides” from 2,000 to 5,000.

These measures will be financed in particular by the end of the Pinel device and the refocusing of the PTZ, said Matignon.

© 2023 AFP

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