To solve the housing crisis, a simplification shock is necessary

Housing is at the base of access to employment, the challenge of the environment, but also the social and territorial division that threatens our society. In order to give the right answers to the crisis we are living in, we have to cut the evil from the root.

The housing crisis in France, as in other European countries, is a crisis of supply and demand. The supply crunch, with a drop in building permits and construction starts in 2023, comes after booming years in construction linked to low interest rates. However, in the last decade, France has been the OECD country with the most housing units per capita.

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Crisis in demand, decline in real estate purchasing power, with rising interest rates and real estate prices remaining high due to lack of market adjustment. However, the production of housing loans by the banking sector remains around 9 billion euros per month in the last quarter of 2023, due to interest rates that are undoubtedly high (3.99%), but in line with inflation and lower than what we have seen between us. European partners where credit production has dropped significantly.

A simplification shock to release tensions in the housing market

Based on this observation, the only remedy is to take quick and simplifying measures aimed at releasing tensions in the housing market.

Let’s give priority to intermediate housing offered to the middle classes, including 25% of intermediate housing in the SRU quota. Let’s open the intermediate housing tax system to the new municipalities in zone B2. Let’s channel individual savings into affordable housing. Let’s develop, in a simplified way, the real joint rent (BRS) formula, which allows access to housing at 30% to 50% lower than market prices.

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Let’s take a look at the second home market, often unoccupied, who are mobilizing homes. To do this, let’s align the duration of ownership of a property to 22 years, in order to be exempt from capital gains tax and social security contributions. As an experiment, rather than a year, let’s reduce this duration to 15 years to quickly release the assets subject to withholding so that their owners can benefit from these exemptions.

Let’s proactively put vacant homes on the real estate market. If 10% of these homes were put on the market, more than 300,000 homes would quickly become available. Let’s continue with requirements for vacant buildings, especially office buildings.

Lowering standards to help build new homes

Having opted for the existing, we need to simplify the standards to encourage the construction of new homes.

Let’s stop the regulations that impose more and more standards, increasing the cost of construction and making housing supply more difficult. To do this, let’s take a territorialized approach to applying these rules according to the tension or calmness of the territories.

Let’s encourage elected officials and social owners to build, thanks to bonuses for elected officials, exemptions from corporation tax offered to owners who invest in construction and not to the benefit of all owners, builders or not, as is the case today.

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A shock to clarify our social model to break our public spending sensibly

Unlike equality, equity is at the core of our model of distributive justice. The principle we must guarantee to apply in the housing sector.

To do this, let’s lower the income thresholds, the solidarity rent supplement (SLS) and to trigger the mandatory exit from social housing for people with incomes above a ceiling. This is to respond to the legitimate demand for social housing for people with low incomes.

Let’s question whether it is advisable to direct public money for personal housing allowance (PAL) to students whose parents have a comfortable income and to students who get a tax advantage (half rate) when the child is attached to the tax house. APL or middle stake, you should choose.

Finally, let’s reform the taxation of short-term tourist accommodation, which unfairly favors long-term bare accommodation rentals. Let us also be careful not to multiply the tax loopholes that cost more than 13,000 million euros a year and we want to evaluate each one of them in detail, to find out if they make it possible to effectively respond to the housing demand of our citizens.

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