All owners, a thwarted ambition

Over the years, the results of each poll have been the same: eight to nine out of 10 French people think owning their own home is important. Showing that in these troubled times, more than ever, stone represents a safe haven. According to figures published by Eurostat in 2018, in France, 58% of households have their own main residence.

Most of our neighbors have the same choice. In Belgium, 71% of households are owners. 72.9% in Italy, 74.8% in Portugal and 78.2% in Spain. Germany is one of the few countries with low housing ownership, with only half (51.8%) of households owning their own home.

The enabling environment is changing

“Owning a home remains in the collective imagination the hallmark of a successful social journey. But for it to work, three things are needed: a buoyant economy, attractive financing terms and strong public support. Today, however, Everything in France is a bit stuck”, Emphasizes Michel Mouillart, teacher at the University of Paris-Nanterre.

After a decade of historically low interest rates, the cost of money is starting to rise again. As credit conditions tighten, low-income households are finding it harder to borrow. “Lower interest rates are not benefiting buyers, but sellers who are pushing up prices. Now rising interest rates are eroding the purchasing power of homebuyers,” Charles Marinakis, President of Century 21 France concluded.

Granted, prices are starting to fall back in towns that have risen more, restoring some bargaining power to buyers, but the rebalancing of the balance of power could take a long time. “Structural demand outstrips supply in tight regions”, Loïc Cantin, President of the National Real Estate Federation (Fnaim), recalls.

It’s getting harder to build new housing

In the new home market, buying a home has become increasingly complicated. “Today, one in five projects doesn’t come out because of the economy, because construction costs have gone up 15 to 25 percent in two years. It’s often hard to get building permits where we can easily meet demand,” said Pascal Boulanger, president of the Federation of Property Developers (FPI).The situation is worrying “Because the private sector produces half of social housing, if things go badly the whole chain suffers”, he explained.

Individual houses have been criticized because they take up a lot of space and contribute to the artificialization of the soil. “This is a picture from before. Now plots are getting smaller and houses are being built more and more on wasteland or hollow teeth. Most importantly, this housing model is especially popular with families, although fewer and fewer able to afford it”. said Grégory Monod, president of the housing department of the French Federation of Construction (FFB).

new constraints within old constraints

Most players in the industry share the same concerns. “Housing, the social bomb is coming”, The title of a report published last year by investor and essayist Robin Rivaton. He explained that the ratio of owners has not changed since 2007, with a growing number of people no longer able to acquire properties, while a small number accumulate real estate investments to rent them out.

“The main issue is where to build. However, public authorities have imposed environmental restrictions before setting up the tools to facilitate the restoration of existing facilities. We have banned before authorizing, and at the same time, the number of people in poor housing conditions has increased,” Judge Nadia Bouyer, Managing Director, Action Logement Group.

In the past, multiple constraints surrounding energy retrofit readiness have also created a lot of anxiety for homeowners. From January 1st, the most energy-intensive accommodation (a small part of G category) is prohibited from renting (except tourist accommodation), and the progress will be accelerated. All “G”s will be excluded from rents by 2025 (800,000 properties), then F-classes (1.2 million rents) in 2028 and E-classes (28 million rents) in 2034 ).

Some estates may lose value

Today, many homeowners cannot afford to pay €30,000 to €50,000 for a complete renovation of their property. In apartments, already affected by rising prices for collective heating energy, planned improvements may be delayed until better days. With that comes the risk that the goods will eventually lose most of their value.

“House prices are not very high in rural France and are far from the frenzy recorded in the most dynamic areas, which could be a tragedy for many owners of this heritage, Pierre Hautus, general representative of Plurience, the association of real estate professionals, warned.

The image of France as the happy rentier-owner is fading. “Given the weight of the tax, if there are real estate rents, the first beneficiaries are the national and local authorities. “Judge Eudes Baufreton, General Representative of the National Union of Owners (UNPI). For the French, acquiring property remains a life item, even though it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.


17.6 million According to statistics from the Ministry of Ecological Transition, by the beginning of 2021, French households will own their own homes. Among them, 35% still need to repay the housing loan. 79% of the owner-occupied housing stock consists of houses (25% tenanted) with an average size of 100 sqm. Vendée is the province with the highest proportion of owner-occupiers (72%).

3,106 euros. According to Fnaim, this is the average price per square meter in France at the end of 2022. But the gap is huge. On average, the value per square meter in Paris was 10,786 euros last year, compared with 2,498 euros outside the Paris region and 1,608 euros in rural towns.

5.2 million Thermal filters (labels F and G) are available in France according to the latest rating from the National Observatory of Energy Retrofit. This represents 17% of the prime residential stock.

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