Faced with the housing crisis, a united public-private front

« 10 measures to create a supply shock… and after ? »
Following the notable intervention of the new Minister of Housing, Guillaume Kasbarian, on March 11 at Midi Libre, Lab Immo got public and private actors to react on Thursday evening in Montpellier, in front of nearly 100 guests.

Multi-site development permits, acceleration of obtaining building permits, densification in subdivisions, shortening of appeal deadlines… During the Lab Immo, this Thursday evening in Montpellier, real estate professionals assessed these measures (ten in total) announced by Guillaume Kasbarian, Minister of Housing, from March 11 at the headquarters of Midi Libre. « The measures announced cost the State nothing. This is a sign that he does not have the desire to invest in housing, whether for rental investment or ownership. We are witnessing a financialization of housing, now reserved for institutional investors, declares Philippe Roussel, president of Unam LR (private developers) and founder of Terres du Soleil, in Saint-Jean-de-Védas . Cédric Grail, CEO of Altémed, warns of the urgency of the situation. « There is no longer a rental market in major cities. This is a subject of great political concern. I still have the impression that there is awareness on the part of the Minister of Housing. »

Parking, diversity: review the rules

Faced with public finances under pressure – « Bercy's concern is the rating of France's debt, says Laurent Villaret, president of the FPI Occitanie Méditerranée – solutions can come from public and private actors in the territories. In Castelnau-le-Lez, faced with a scarcity of available land, mayor Frédéric Lafforgue wants to densify the construction that is still possible, along Avenue de l’Europe, through three signal towers. Laurent Villaret intends to act on the rules relating to parking in residences. « Moving a car park from the traditional basement to a more global mobility project in a neighborhood, through a silo car park for example, would make it possible to produce less expensive housing, he calculates. It also calls for a change of approach on the rules of equalization between free housing on one side, and social and affordable housing on the other side. « The rules must be applied at the neighborhood level, and not at the plot level. Today, the price of vacant housing is higher because it supports social and affordable housing. These represent half of the units per operation and are manufactured below our cost price, explains Laurent Villaret.

FPI/Altémed Dialogue

Altémed intends to accelerate the release of some 7,600 housing units allocated in its Zac over the past two years. « To date, 1,112 homes are blocked. We work with the FPI, lot by lot, developer by developer, to study the conditions for exiting operations, by playing on the land charge, the architectural specifications, etc. », explains Cédric Grail. All in a spirit of partnership. « The work with Altémed is remarkable. If the public developer succeeds in resolving our balance sheets, and allows overdue operations to exit, it’s a victory for everyone,” welcomes Laurent Villaret.
For Philippe Roussel, the act of building must also be a laboratory for innovation here, facing the effects of climate change. « I am thinking in particular of the lack of water. We must explore everything: desalinating seawater, reusing treated wastewater and rainwater, doing thalassothermy, creating ultra-water-saving operations…hellip; However, for the slightest innovative project, which could be exemplary, we are confronted with an inquisition by the State services,” he tackles.
Still, the lines will inevitably have to move. According to INSEE, Occitanie will count ’ around one million additional inhabitants by 2050, with the urban areas of Toulouse and Montpellier as the main centers of attraction, concludes Frédéric Lafforgue.


Photo testimonials

Laurent Villaret, president of the FPI Occitanie Méditerranée
« What is the vision of the State ? »

« There is a very ideological aspect to the current crisis, coming from the highest level of the State. Minister Kasbarian is certainly proposing measures. I am holding the permit to develop and build multiple sites. But what we need is a vision! I hear it said, from the side of the Élysée, that housing is ‘for suckers’ (sic). Let's get rid of judgment and think: what is the real estate model that the State wants to move towards ? Does it want, tomorrow, citizens to consume their housing through rent, as a service ? We We need a direction to adapt our economic model. Nothing happens there. And, on the ground, people can no longer buy or rent. »

Frédéric Lafforgue, mayor of Castelnau-le-Lez
« More than 1,000 housing units to be built »

« Construction possibilities are being reduced everywhere, and Castelnau-le-Lez (2nd municipality in the Montpellier metropolis, with 25,000 inhabitants) is particularly concerned. The current PLU provided for 3,000 housing units to be built. With the dual application of the future PLUI Metropolitan Climate and PPRI (flood risk prevention plan) State Runoff, this figure is reduced to … 1,000! Mainly along Avenue de l’Europe and the current Parc clinic, once its activity was transferred to Sablassou.
However, housing problems are becoming the majority in people's daily lives. This is the subject of 60% of my meetings with the inhabitants of Castelnau. Let's not forget that the population of the metropolis of Montpellier is one of the poorest in France. We must create a real estate offer corresponding to the financial capacity of households. »

Philippe Roussel, president of Unam LR
« The accommodation must be of major general interest »

« I ask that housing be placed of major general interest at the national level. Housing has an essential role, with a social and economic dimension, especially in our region. The current shortage is harming the attractiveness of the region, with employees struggling to find housing, and employment in the act of building. With the Climate & Resilience law, environmental exemptions are required for many development operations, due to the presence of protected species, wetlands … Many projects are blocked or delayed, such as in Bessan, Clermont-l’Hérault, Poussan, Gruissan. As long as housing is not considered to be of major general interest, requests for exemptions are not even open in Paris. »

Cédric Grail, CEO of Altémed
« Workshops to get good ideas »

« On an order from the Montpellier metropolis, Altémed is launching Housing Workshops. 400 people are invited to participate in the coming weeks. Around fifty local and national hearings, including with former ministers, are planned. The idea is to answer very concrete questions. What to plan for these students forced to sleep in their car during the start of the university year ? How to generalize parking silos at neighborhood entrances to reduce housing costs ? We want to look for good ideas. A White Paper on housing will be presented at the National HLM Congress of the Social Union for Habitat (USH) in Montpellier in September. »

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