Developers are often faced with the demand of elected officials to build  more and larger homes. The too small size of housing produced is also a recurring criticism against the support mechanisms for intermediate housing (Pinel …). On this topic, the FPI has long argued that in the face of changes in our society (decohabitation, celibacy, mobility …) the demand for large housing is actually quite small, in the free sector as in social housing. Dialogue of the deaf …

In this debate, four ideas deserve to be better highlighted:

  • The cost of large dwellings can be a drag. If it could be reduced, developers could build more. But on the cost, the public sphere has levers: provision of land, lightening standards, reduced taxation, development of BRS for the free sector etc.
  • The housing we produce will still be there in 50 years, but by this time, the size of households will continue to decline: 2 people in 2050 against 2.21 in 2015. At that date, the over 60 years will represent 32% of the population, compared to 23% in 2010. The need for large housing is therefore rather behind us
  • In the era of low carbon, large homes are synonymous with more matter, more heating, less density and less space for nature in the city
  • At the same time as the community spirit asserts itself, the building offers more and more shared spaces, which will naturally pull down the private areas.

And the French, in all this, what do they want? The answer is not so simple: in the metropolis where we produce a lot, the gap between the ideal size and the actual size of the house is 15 m2, but the French finally attach a relative importance to size, since they cite “spacious housing” only as the sixth most important criterion in the choice of housing, far behind a “comfortable home” and a “healthy home”.

The challenge today is therefore less in a “big / small” debate that, in fact, is already settled, than in the transformation of housing and that their size is no longer a subject and that they are more desirable. This involves reflections on their layout, furnishings, scalability, sharing of spaces – as many fields as it belongs to our companies to explore.

Alexandra François-Cuxac
President of the FPI France