what if we supported households, rather than housing? – The Express

what if we supported households rather than housing – The

The ineffectiveness of social housing policy in France is not new. Barely a quarter of potential demand is satisfied. Many households are forced to turn to private parks. On arrival, surfaces that are too small or home-work distances that are too long. The turnover rate, only 8% in public housing compared to 28% in the private sector, is worsening with the aging of the population. And the additional rent provided for by law for households falling outside the eligibility criteria is hardly dissuasive. Nothing very new then. Except that the blockages appear even more unbearable when the entire real estate sector scleroses, under the effect of rising interest rates: the French struggle to obtain bank credit, the rental supply shrinks, development collapses…

In their note to be published on Thursday, the experts from the Sapiens Institute provide their contribution to the reflection, by deconstructing the existing model. “We need to change software,” argue the members of the real estate observatory of this independent think-tank. With an explosive proposition: switching from the concept of “social housing” to that of “social household”. They summarize: “The idea is to support eligible households and not the stone”. How ? By establishing a “rent advantage”, i.e. the difference between the social rent and that practiced in the free sector. “To avoid windfall and inflationary effects, this subsidy will be paid directly to the owner […] who will then deduct it from the price of the rent requested.

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Neutral measure for public finances

Low-income households then have the option of claiming – if we take the hypothesis to the extreme – a stock of 36 million rental properties, compared to less than 5 million social housing units. In addition to facilitating geographic mobility, the measure has the advantage of being “neutral for public finances because it is carried out through the envelopes currently dedicated to social housing”, argues the Sapiens Institute. A strong argument as Bercy has just tightened the screw on spending, stating that French GDP growth would be limited to 1% in 2024 compared to 1.4% hoped for so far.

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“Our general idea is to streamline the residential journey by avoiding this culture of social/private silo,” explains Bernard Cadeau, director of the think-tank’s real estate observatory. This also involves capping the borrowing rate of social landlords at 1.5%, recommends the institute, in order to support construction. Way to counteract the increase in the Livret A rate, the one at which the Caisse des Dépôts grants them loans. To encourage turnover in social housing, experts also recommend putting an end to the lifetime lease, replacing it with a six-year contract.

Last suggestion, facilitate dismemberment via the “BRS” system, or real joint lease. Intended to encourage the purchase of housing by low-income households, it lacks notoriety, regret the authors. Former president of the Orpi agency network, Bernard Cadeau insists: “A well-housed country is a peaceful country.” Will Guillaume Kasbarian, fifth Minister of Housing under the presidency of Emmanuel Macron, be able to hear it?