Takamatsu, Kagawa (Japan), 5 July 2023 – Marc Pigeon, President of Build Europe, the European association representing developers and homebuilders, including BFW, held an international press conference with the presidents of the main EU housing association and issued a warning to governments about the global housing crisis ahead of the G7 meeting of urban development ministers on two main themes. The first theme highlighted the pressing emergence of a major social crisis caused by the escalating unaffordability of housing in all G7 countries, leaving many households without viable solutions. The second emphasized the significant challenge that governments will face as the global population continues to grow and age in the coming years. In light of these concerns, Marc Pigeon proposed a thorough evaluation of the current and anticipated situation, along with the development of a strategic approach to address these challenges. Importantly, Marc Pigeon highlighted that housing cannot be viewed in isolation but must be integrated into a broader global policy and vision.
In his press conference, Marc Pigeon pointed out that the world needed more housing in order to respond to demographic change and the growing migratory flows caused by war, poverty and climate change. He noted that the supply of housing was inadequate and unaffordable, because prices had been rising steadily for over ten years, faster than incomes.
While President Pigeon acknowledge that the subject is complex, the general causes listed below provide a global framework for devising effective solutions tailored to each country:
- Rising construction costs due to excessive regulation and rising prices for materials and labour;
- Lack of building land: the rarer a product, the more expensive it is;
- Rising interest rates, which had an immediate impact on the solvency of buyers as well as an additional cost for builders;
- The tax burden applied to housing;
- Insufficient supply despite population growth;
- Insufficient growth in household incomes, with wages not rising as fast as house prices.
During the press conference, Marc Pigeon said that the G7 governments must, as a matter of priority, discuss ways and means of resolving the affordable housing crisis and take a step back to prepare for a future that looks even bleaker. Although the socio-professionals are not always listened to or heard, even though they too have a concern for the common good, Marc Pigeon proposed possible ways forward and the various levers to be activated to remedy the current and future situation.
Marc Pigeon said: “The growth of an ageing population combined with an insufficient and increasingly unaffordable housing supply is a social bomb ready to explode at the global level. Tomorrow will be too late, and the time to act is today. We are facing a global emergency that is as critical and urgent as climate change. The G7 governments must consider that access to affordable housing is the keystone of a well-balanced society. Developers and homebuilders are ready to play their part and support policies that reconcile affordable housing with environmental objectives. We are pleased to offer our analysis and proposals, hoping that our inputs and recommendations will be considered at the upcoming meeting of G7 urban development ministers”.