Housing: for Elisabeth Borne, “complex” answers to find in order to defuse the social bomb

Published on Nov 16, 2023 at 7:01 p.m.Updated Nov. 16, 2023 at 7:14 p.m.

A “national challenge” that housing, underlined this Thursday Elisabeth Borne. “An absolute priority”, enjoined this week the Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire. “There is no magic solution,” warned the Prime Minister when presenting last June the extension of the zero-rate loan (PTZ) or the end of the Pinel tax exemption system. But faced with the “social bomb” that the housing crisis represents for the French, the government is trying to show that it has taken stock of the subject and is taking action.

A sign of the importance given to the issue, it was the Prime Minister who insisted on making this Thursday a new series of announcements with among other things a new plan to buy back housing from developers by social landlords, the release of an envelope of 500 million euros by the State and the Caisse des Dépôts to create housing at affordable rents, a new extension of zoning for access to zero-interest loans (PTZ) or a plan for 35,000 new student accommodations by 2027.

Unbearable weight for the budget

Coincidence or not the calendar, it was also this Thursday that the Federation of Real Estate Developers (FPI) alerted about “catastrophic” new real estate figures in 2023 . A sign, if it were needed, that there is an emergency, for the sector as well as for the French.

In a recent Elabe survey for “Les Echos” on housing , the French cited as their number one problem its cost, with a weight that had become unbearable for the budget of part of the population and even more so among those under 35. An explosive situation. Also annoying for the executive, 75% of French people anticipated a worsening of the situation in the years to come, as, undoubtedly, they did not see what concrete solutions the government could provide.

“Affordable housing for all”

Also the Prime Minister, whose mantra is “affordable housing for all”, hoped this Thursday that this plan “advances quickly”, with “concrete results”. These measurements do not constitute the balance of any account. And players in the sector, like politicians, including the majority, will continue to put pressure on what happens next.

The government is preparing for January a bill on degraded condominiums and substandard housing . Elisabeth Borne also indicated that she supported the bill tabled in the embly to regulate furnished tourist accommodation.

After having rejected the most maximalist amendments in the 2024 finance bill to promote the taxation of long-term rentals, the head of government announced a parliamentary mission on the subject which should also result in a bill. . Next spring, the executive must present another housing bill with a decentralization component.

Reinstate the link between employment and housing

Elisabeth Borne did not make these announcements anywhere. With her Minister of Housing, she chose to do them in Dunkirk, certainly the city of which Patrice Vergriete is the former mayor, but also a city symbolic of what the government would like to achieve on housing, and beyond, on reindustrialization and employment.

“Without new affordable housing,” she warned in an anaphora, “the battery gigafactories that are built here will not be able to operate at full capacity, the expected new employees will not be able to settle down sustainably […] We would miss the boat of reindustrialization. » And also full employment, believes Bruno Le Maire who wants to go further on housing for working people. “In the spring, this bill will focus more on the structural aspect, we must reinstate the link between employment and housing, build more in tense areas,” supports those around him.

“Advance step by step”

But the Prime Minister did not hide the fact that “building this policy is complex”. “We can only move forward step by step, there are many actors, there are contradictory injunctions,” declares an executive advisor. We must be careful with radical measures which can upset an entire balance. The answer is complex, he adds, we must accept that it may seem insufficient, there is no miracle solution. »

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