Housing crisis: in Dunkirk, Elisabeth Borne must provide new roads for construction

The Prime Minister and the Housing Minister are going to Dunkirk this Thursday. They must announce “concrete measures” to “intensify” housing construction.

Elisabeth Borne is going to Dunkirk to try again to respond to the real estate crisis with “concrete measures” to “intensify” the construction of apartments and “facilitate” their access to students, after June’s announcements disappointed players in the sector. .

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The number of households waiting for social housing (2.42 million) has never been higher, and the number of homeless people has risen to 330,000. The prime minister, who just before went to Ecuires (Pas-de-Calais) to provide support to residents affected by the floods, will be accompanied by the delegate of the minister responsible for housing, Patrice Vergriete, former mayor of Dunkirk and remained president. their urban community.

A trained urban engineer, this former socialist encouraged the construction of housing there to bring them closer to new industrial jobs. The 2024 budget proposal will not be enough to stop the housing crisis, Horizons MP François Jolivet warned in a report published on Monday. New housing output fell sharply in 2023, caught between rising construction costs and a decline in buyers’ purchasing power, which was also penalized by a sharp increase in interest rates that complicates access to credit.

“There is no magic fix”

In search of a solution without the public finances spiraling out of control, the government activated several fiscal levers in the budget without complete conviction, even within its majority. “The sector is in a triple crisis”, production, the environment and adapting to an aging population, estimates Patrice Vergriete, who advocates a “land supply shock”. His predecessor, Olivier Klein, spoke of the “risk of a social bomb”.

But “there is no magic bullet,” warned Elisabeth Borne in early June. It put forward a series of largely technical measures (extension and refocusing of the zero-rate loan known as PTZ, rental assistance, but the end of the Pinel tax exemption scheme) that disappointed industry players. Véronique Bédague, chief executive of Nexita, a leading property developer, found the plan “minimalist” and “inaccurate”.

Since then, two pieces of legislation have been prepared: one against substandard housing with the aim of renovating mainly degraded apartments, which must be presented at the end of the year, and the second, planned for spring, on the decentralization of housing policy, which, according to Patrice Vergriete, must be managed “as closely as possible to the field”.

The number of building permits for housing is in free fall, with approximately 370,000 permits issued between October 2022 and September 2023. Social housing permits are expected to be around 85,000 in 2023, which is an insufficient number for the government and social landlords.

Speed ​​up transitional rental housing

In particular, the government wants to speed up the production of transitional rental housing (LLI), at regulated rates, but higher than social housing. In 2021, the latest year for which data is available, 18,000 of these homes were built. He pledged to allow social landlords to have 20% of transitional housing in their portfolio, up from the current 10%.

Patrice Vergriete, who in October announced a budget extension of €1.2 billion over three years to renovate HLM, promised to “put in resources” despite land price increases and to rely on “territorialized agreements” that set social housing targets. area. For students, the government plans to build 60,000 housing units, with 1,600 apartments in the Paris 2024 Olympic Village being converted into student housing at the end of the Olympics, government spokesman Olivier Véran said.

During her trip, the prime minister will visit the rehabilitation site of an industrial wasteland, which the government is encouraging to redevelop in order to provide space for factories as well as housing, thereby harmonizing the “reindustrialization and sobering up of the land”. Elisabeth Borne will also lay the foundation stone for start-up Verkor’s mega-factory for the production of batteries for electric cars, which is planned to open in 2025 with 1,200 direct jobs. It is one of four projects of this type in France.

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