Friday, December 12, 2014

Paris mayor targeting private apartments

The recently elected socialist mayor of Paris has revealed détails of their plans to buy individual apartments in private buildings and turn them into 'social housing'. The policy is not without its critics and among them are those voiced by FNAIM, the estate agents' Professional body, including:

- the high cost, where 'typical' social housing costs around 4500 euros per square metre, in some parts of Paris average prices are 6730 - 9000 euros per square metre.

- the problems of creating mixed occupancy apartment blocks, resulting in conflicts between private owners/renters and occupants of apartments owned by the Mairie as social housing.

- high annual charges for building maintenance and professional management, and concerns that costs will fall on private owners, while the Mairie will pay the costs of the apartments they own. Just as happened in Britain under the 'right to buy' scheme which created mixed-occupancy Council blocks.

- prices being forced down as vendors seeking to sell and retire to the warm South try to offload their property (some 8 million French 'baby-boomers' are estimated to reach retirement age over the next ten years).

As with much recent policy there are serious doubts that this one will work - like the Duflot scheme to buy up redundant buildings and convert them into social housing, which produced virtually nil results. Ironicallly, at the same moment this new policy was being announced, the sudden ban on wood burning fires in Paris was suddenly dropped after widespread protest. It seems the present government just can't get it right.