Build Europe, the leading EU trade association for developers and house builders, today launched its strategic response to Covid-19. Housing: A European Challenge sets out a route map to help EU decision makers create the right regulatory framework to deliver affordable housing quickly in a financially weakened post-Covid Europe.
Build Europe, whose members account for more than 60% of EU home-building capacity, believes Covid lockdowns and self-isolating have confirmed that housing is the number one priority of most EU citizens, a priority that is not being addressed. The EU needs to agree a long-term project that properly reflects the diversity of its Member States and citizens, and attaches a greater priority to the role of smaller cities. Although recognising the need to increase the density in large cities, Build Europe urges the EU to invest in its future, by boosting industries, infrastructures and, most of all, housing.
In the short term and in order to deal with this unprecedented economic crisis, the EU needs to implement demand-side as well as supply-side reforms, which must be supported by exceptional investments. The EU needs urgently to:
- Engage in a comprehensive and energetic policy of deregulation, and suspend for at least five years any new regulations that would adversely impact prices;
- Extend the application of reduced VAT rates to enable the delivery of much needed affordable housing; and
- Stimulate private funding to increase the supply of social housing, so to complement the activities of public operators
Marc Pigeon, President of Build Europe, said: “The Covid-19 epidemic has underlined the importance of housing in the livelihood of every EU citizen and has further underlined how housing could reveal social inequalities within the population. There is an issue that is becoming increasingly difficult to solve: providing decent and affordable housing for all European citizens. Costs have risen by more than 10% since 2010 while revenues have fallen dramatically during the pandemic. Quick fixes from EU legislators aren’t enough to address the serious and pressing housing problems facing Europe’s housing tenants and owners, post- Covid. The plans we are announcing today will deliver a secure and sustainable future for all of us, and I urge the European Commission and European Parliament to work with us to deliver the recovery that Europe needs”
Filiep Loosveldt, Build Europe Managing Director, said: “Our proposals are designed to attract private sector funding, develop affordable housing, and stimulate much-needed demand and investment through precise fiscal and budgetary measures. In spite of enormous financial, public health and supply chain challenges, Build Europe’s members are working tirelessly to support EU families, communities and economies”