Housing crisis: but what does Emmanuel Macron really want to do?

It is a strange series, incoherent as possible, that the executive has just offered to housing. First an intervention by the Prime Minister, announcing two measures to support a market in full asthenia, the purchase by the Caisse des dépôts et consignations of the programs of promoters who cannot find buyers, up to 3.7 billion euros, and the extension of the zero-rate loan beyond the due date of the end of 2023. Then the cancellation in extremis of the presentation of the conclusions of the National Council for Refoundation for Housing by the Minister for the City and the Accommodation, three days before the scheduled date. No new date has been set at this time. Finally, the President of the Republic gave a long interview to a major economic weekly in which he violently castigated a housing policy that was wasteful of useless aid, maintaining high prices and providing investors with a veritable paradise. He also criticizes the Malthusianism of the mayors of the big cities who block construction. Hot and cold. The expression by Elisabeth Borne of a consideration of promoters and the difficulties they are going through, the esteem of households tested by inflation and far from credit, then the refusal of obstacles by Olivier Klein, undoubtedly imposed in high places, finally Emmanuel Macron’s condemnation of decades of public policies.

One could wonder to which saint one should devote oneself. The Constitution of our country responds bluntly: the Head of State leads the policy of France and neither the Prime Minister nor her deputy minister will have the last word. The housing community, professionals, associations, elected officials must resolve to be held responsible for the failure of the housing policy. The solutions proposed by the President? A double shock, after that of the supply in 2017 which did not take place: the simplification of procedures and the reduction of housing production times, and the massive creation of intermediate housing. The diagnosis is nothing original, and for once the actors have been doing it for a long time. It is still just a diagnosis and not a treatment and the “how” is not indicated. We allow ourselves the luxury of pointing out the choice of helping the market, as if we were doing it for the perverse pleasure of wasting public money, forgetting that fiscal and financial painkillers were necessary because the pain was there and that households had to be relieved of it to continue to buy and invest. The President loves shocks. To slow evolutions, he prefers catalyses. Either, and there again who would blame him? Except that he did not know how to shock the patient during the first five-year term and that one can doubt his ability to resuscitate him today.


The fall in housing sales, a bomb for public finances

The Elan law did not boost the production of housing, in particular because the divorce between the State and the mayors was consummated and the construction tools are useless if the municipalities do not want to use them. We cannot repeat enough how much the abolition of the residence tax, which took away 34% of their resources from municipalities, poorly compensated by the State and which places them in a situation of fiscal vassalage, will have sounded the death knell for building permits. build. Will it, as the President welcomes, restore purchasing power to households? The increase of the property tax almost in due proportion, but also of all the other taxes at the hand of the communes, has put down the benefit of the TH. Big deal. This tax abolition, presented as brilliant, will finally have undone the fiscal link between the inhabitants and their municipality: a democratic development that is more harmful than beneficial while the principle of subsidiarity increasingly orders public action. Everything that can be done at the local level is better done than at a higher and more distant level.

“The couple formed by Emmanuel Macron and the accommodation is not happy”

The reforming President also tells us in his interview that “it is not at the heart of the crisis that the engine must be removed and repaired”. Why didn’t he redesign the engine before the inflation crisis! Since he had already sensed the weaknesses of the system, perceived the insufficiently redistributive effect of the aid, why did he not wearily initiate the overhaul of property taxation, simplify the 5,000 or so standards weighing on each builder, fight against the abusive and malevolent recourse, encouraged the sale of building land from the State and local authorities, accompanied by more balanced regional planning likely to decongest metropolises? We hear that the time to fundamentally revisit housing policy is no longer relevant, and we also hear that the time, the very era of aid has passed.

What’s left? No more painkillers or vitamins and no major operation to restore the patient’s health or correct his weakness. The path to action is narrow in this context. Emmanuel Macron calls for “a conference of parties”: was not the CNR Housing this consultation? Frankly, those who participated believed it, while measuring that the means had not been given, with painfully three months of meetings by videoconference. Everything has been said there nevertheless, and for the short term and for the longer term. Yet another dilatory consultation will not be accepted by the housing community. It is high time for the executive to deploy its own policy, since previous inspirations are only sterility and absurdity in the eyes of the President. They are swept away a little quickly: they have all the same made it possible to house correctly and mainly households since the Reconstruction. In the long list of successive housing ministers, there are respectable men and women, Mr President, more “doers” than “tellers”, to quote Pierre Méhaignerie, one of those great servants of the cause of housing, who likes to recall that his father had ordered him to be on the side of the first and not to pay himself with words. Breton peasant common sense, common to many other territories.

Not to mention that the threatening speeches and the distribution of reproaches here seem to be coupled with ideology, that is to say with unsupported convictions. Thus, before Emmanuel Macron, we would have “created a paradise for real estate investors”. The Head of State has the courage of his certainties, and this is to be welcomed. No circumlocution, an attack in order. Its foundation is not demonstrated, but it is carried. If that were the case, wouldn’t the big investors, who reason with a calculating machine in hand and with knowledge of the civil rules governing rental relationships, these actors culturally so close to the President, have put all their firepower into the accommodation ? They have preferred other real estate assets for thirty-five years, and this does not seem to have changed radically, even though offices and shops are no longer the holy grail. This is to say if the attractiveness of residential real estate investment resembles a paradise. In any case, wise investors stay away from it, no doubt choosing purgatory or hell for lack of religious discernment.

That an entire professional sector, including HLM, must put up with not being appreciated by the President is already not easy. That French households pay the price, that they are indirectly accused of having benefited from undue and overly generous aid, this runs the risk of collective social bitterness, especially within the middle class. . She doesn’t feel like she’s stuffed herself, Mr. President. She didn’t stuff herself. She just wanted to house herself and others – if we talk about private and social rental investors. Decidedly, the couple formed by Emmanuel Macron and the accommodation is not happy. One would still have liked it to bear fruit, as in marriages of convenience. How many of us are not children of love and still move forward? More numerous than you think. We can also, more philosophically, refer to Kant, another Emmanuel: when he grew old, he recognized that the good can be imposed “by virtue or by calculation” – sic. We will mourn without great damage, Mr. President of the Republic, your lucidity on what generations of housing actors have done useful for the country. The French, on the other hand, will experience economic and social pain if you do not feel that you have to act for housing.


Real estate: 8 figures to understand the housing crisis

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