The number of new housing projects in France has dropped to its lowest level for more than a decade, it has been claimed.
France’s federation of property developers, the Fédération des promoteurs immobiliers (FPI), said only 16,912 projects for new collective housing constructions were launched in the first quarter of this year, the lowest level since 2010, when the FPI was created.
The total sales of new builds also dropped by 25% compared to the same quarter in 2022, it added.
At a press conference on Thursday (May 25), the FPI said: “The start of 2023 did not offer any prospect of improvement. The new build sector is now seeing inextricably-linked difficulties in supply and demand.”
Reasons for the decrease
The federation said two main reasons have caused the drop in projects:
- The decrease in the number of building permits being granted
- The rising cost of construction materials
However, it also blamed rules from le Haut conseil de stabilité financière (HCSF), which have limited borrowers to debt levels of just 35% since the start of 2022. This has limited households’ access to credit, and hit demand, it said.
“These measures, which were taken at a time when demand for housing was high and sustained, are now totally counterproductive with the downturn of the market,” said Pascal Boulanger, FPI president.
“It’s vital to overturn these decisions to avoid getting even more deeply into crisis.”
It also said that sales to individual investors had dropped by 52.3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. The FPI said that these buyers typically contribute to the launch of new building programmes. A lack of them could “therefore compromise the launch of new projects”, said Mr Boulanger.
The FPI has now called on the government to take “urgent measures”. It is hoping for announcements from June 5, which is when new conclusions from the housing committee, le Conseil national de la refondation (CNR) Logement, are expected.
Its report has already been delayed by a month, much to the dismay of housing sector professionals.