EXCLUSIVE SURVEY – A majority of French people believe they spend too much on housing

Posted Sep 7, 2023, 5:00 PM

Housing is too expensive in France. This is the number one problem that emerges from a survey carried out by Elabe for “Les Echos” and the Institut Montaigne on September 5 and 6 with a representative sample of 1,000 people. Faced with that of the lack of available housing – despite the growing tensions observed in the rental market .

“We talk a lot today about the rise in the cost of food and the consequences on household purchasing power, but the cost of housing is also a subject. Its weight is even becoming unbearable for part of the population,” underlines Vincent Thibault, opinion consulting director at Elabe.

First expense item

Asked about the fact of knowing what is the main problem of housing today in our country, the people surveyed thus cited first, at 45%, too high rents, then at 44% a price to buy the apartments. and too expensive houses and, at 34%, too high a level of mortgage interest rates. This observation is shared by all generations and all socio-professional categories.

“The results of this survey confirm an economic and social phenomenon that is now firmly rooted in the French landscape: that of accessibility to housing,” comments Lisa Thomas-Darbois, deputy director of France studies at the Institut Montaigne.

In fact, housing – the price of which has not stopped rising in recent years – remains the main item of household expenditure. And according to this survey, the French devote an average of 32% of their income to it. A figure up by 4 points compared to June 2016. In detail, 22% use less than 20% of their income for housing, 40% between 20% and 39% and 37% 40% or more.

Generation gap

Curiously, the variations are slight according to the geographical areas – whereas rents and selling prices of housing vary very strongly between the large agglomerations – in particular Paris and its suburbs – and rural areas for example. “But the incomes are still somewhat proportional to where you live,” says the specialist from Elabe, still surprised by this result.

The differences, on the other hand, are glaring according to age. Those under 35 say they spend 39% of their income on housing, compared to 36% among those aged 35-49, 29% among those aged 50-64 and 23% among those aged 65 and over.

Similarly, while the feeling that the share of income allocated to housing is too high has risen sharply since June 2016 (53%, +15 points) among all respondents, it is much stronger among those under 50 (63 %) than among those aged 65 and over (36%). “Among all the subjects we deal with, this is the one on which we have seen the most differences according to age”, notes Vincent Thibault.

Pessimism for the future

In the minds of respondents, the sky is not about to clear up: 75% anticipate that the cost of housing will continue to increase in the years to come and 56% that the tension will increase on available housing. . “This is undoubtedly linked to the fact that the government, at this stage, does not offer concrete solutions to this problem”, continues the specialist from Elabe.

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