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Why are rental properties increasingly scarce?

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published on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 07:00

Several agency networks interviewed by AFP believe that the number of properties rented has decreased over the past year, by 10 to 15%. The reason: the increased difficulty of becoming a homeowner, which is pushing tenants to stay in their homes longer and longer, and the slowdown in new construction, which is also beginning to weigh.

Looking for a property to rent today is an obstacle course.

Housing for rent is indeed increasingly rare, which worries real estate professionals. The point on this trend which is likely to continue in the coming years.

What’s going on ?

Several agency networks interviewed by AFP believe that the number of properties rented has decreased over the past year. Foncia, a specialist in rental management, estimates this drop at 10%, the network of Nestenn agencies at 11%, the National Real Estate Federation (Fnaim) at nearly 15% and the Bien’ici ad portal at 5% in the third quarter. “The big cities are very affected, but they are no longer the only ones”says Olivier Alonso, president of Nestenn.

And demand is soaring even more. The promoter Nexity thus noted “many more additional contacts per announcement. In the first quarter, we had a third more rental requests than last year”, said general manager Véronique Bédague in front of investors at the end of September. According to Bien’ici, the number of requests per advertisement even increased by 80% in the third quarter, even more in the Southeast.

Whose fault is it ?

The drying up of the rental supply comes first… from the tenants themselves. They are staying longer and longer in their homes.. “We had fewer departures of tenants, for one reason which is that there is a wait-and-see attitude in the global chain of the course of the French”, explains to AFP Jean-Marc Torrollion, president of Fnaim.

In question : increased difficulty in becoming a homeowner, with the rapid rise in interest rates, and the usury rate, beyond which it is legally forbidden to lend, which excludes the less well-off borrowers. “Economic environment, instability, uncertainty, rate of wear and tear which does not rise as fast as inflation and therefore banks refuse loans (…) all of this, indirectly, contributes to slowing down the rental market” , list Laurence Batlle, president of Foncia ADB.

The slowdown in new construction is also beginning to weigh. This is a recurring grievance of developers: for several years, mayors have been more reluctant to authorize construction. If building permits are currently at record levels, it is a sham increase, following an influx of applications in December 2021, before the entry into force of stricter environmental regulations.

And the number of construction sites started does not follow, with a shortage of materials and soaring energy prices which are holding back the building sector. “This offer less, it helps to freeze the market,” says Ms. Batlle. “We can’t buy where we want to go, but we need to live there, we need housing, and therefore, it turns into a rental request”, according to Ms. Bédague.

The case of thermal colanders

Since August, the owners of housing with energy label F or G, the most energy-consuming, can no longer increase their rent. And from next January 1, “indecent” accommodation by their consumption will be prohibited for rental. In 2025, all of the Gs in mainland France will follow, then the Fs in 2028 and the Es in 2034.

If the measure is supposed to encourage landlords to renovate their homes, professionals fear that some will withdraw them from the market. According to a survey of professionals commissioned by the Fnaim, only 32% of owners of F and G housing currently choose to renovate it; and 26% to sell it.

“I think that we have not measured the impact that this could have on the supply available in the private rental fleet”, fears its president. “We don’t see it yet, nuance Laurence Batlle. But it’s a trend that will inevitably gain weight in the years to come.”

Last danger: the transformation of apartments into short-term tourist rentals. According to the survey commissioned by Fnaim, 6% of thermal colander owners are considering this solution. “In many cities, seasonal rentals have taken precedence over traditional rentals”, testifies Olivier Alonso, seeing a professional clientele turn away from the traditional hotel industry in their favor

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