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Social Housing Financing: Strengths and Weaknesses of the Economic Model in France

Dominique Hoorens Directeur des études économiques et financières, Union sociale pour l’habitat (USH). Contact : dominique.hoorens@union-habitat.org.


Facing a long lasting housing crisis, France has set itself ambitious goals : build 500,000 new dwellings per year, including 150,000 social housing ; speed up energetic renovation of housing stock and extend urban renewal program. The difficult record of national public finances, the complexity of housing market where mid-term rationalization collide with short term effects, and the unfortunate choice that has been made in our country for “land rent” make their realization difficult.

HLM providers are major operators of the rental market and take their due part in the national goals. The economic model of social housing in France is based on a system that is both classic (debt leverage, subsidies) and specific (tax free savings scheme, housing allowances). This system has produced a housing stock of more than 4 million dwellings giving both safety to renters and financial security to moneylenders and public authorities.


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