Every one of us feels it, everywhere on the territory: the mayors have slowed down the issuance of building permits, in two years, we lost more than 40,000 permits for collective dwellings on an annual basis. We lack homes for sale Our teams are wondering, our treasuries are suffering and it is all the more heartbreaking that the demand is there, as shown by the figures of our Observatory of new housing Q3 2019 published this week.

We have the temptation to blame the mayors for this mess, but put us in their place for a moment. We are coming out of several years when the production of housing has reached very high levels (it is enough to see the number of programs out of the ground in the big cities to be convinced of it), a number of elected officials can thus say to themselves that they have “done the job”. Some speak of a break to fill the gap in the realisation of the public facilities necessary to the new inhabitants; others consider that they already have many subjects of social tension to be settled so as not to add others with yards and cranes; others are also concerned about the balance with the more peripheral France, that of the medium-sized cities, of the “hinterland” of the metropolises, which only wants to bring in inhabitants who they are struggling to welcome.

The next municipal mandate, 2020-2026, is therefore likely to be less favourable to new construction in our main markets, and the new PLUs of the metropolises, which de-densify (in Rennes, Marseille, etc.) show it well. In this context, what may be the FPI’s discourse with mayors? Certainly not an aggressive speech, because we are in a relationship of interdependence that militates rather for the partnership; nor a lenient speech, because we have a job to defend; rather a balanced speech, which reminds mayors of their responsibilities (we must continue to build and densify to meet the needs of households) but also looking for answers to their constraints (budget, in particular). We must also position ourselves as contributors of solutions, through new activities – renovation, elevation, redevelopment of the existing fabric, etc.

In this respect, we find ourselves fairly well in the Lagleize report, which proposes to mobilise elected representatives on construction and density objectives, while giving them tools for action and new budgetary resources. It is up to us to put quality into our programs, by showing that we can collectively make a city pleasant, desirable, healthy, connected, in which the human remains at the heart. Local elected officials often lack arguments to defend urbanity and the need to continue building. It’s up to us to give them, through the excellence of our operations.

Alexandra François-Cuxac
President of the FPI France