Housing on the coast, a groping challenge for the elect

Real estate pressure, building constraints, the attraction of second homes after the health emergency, the exponential rate of transformation of accommodation into furnished tourist accommodation … Tensions over housing can be seen on all coastal facades.

The question of housing on the coast was debated during the national study days of the National Association of the Chosen of the Coast (ANEL) which took place in Grau-du-Roi (Gard) on 29 and 30 September, in the presence of a minister , three secretaries of state, including Dominique Faure in charge of rural affairs, and nearly 400 elected officials.

“Housing on the coast is a crucial issue that had to be addressed in such a way as to share both the diagnoses and experiences of coastal communities, but also those bordering the great lakes, and to draw lessons from them on the changes to be made on a national scale. “, exhibits Anne-Sophie Leclère, general delegate of ANEL.

Local authorities implement initiatives based on the needs of the territories.

  • Sables d’Olonne: a “Rental all year” plan.

All coastal locations share the same observation: the attractiveness of their territory has become a challenge for permanent accommodation. In Les Sables d’Olonne (Vendée), the main habitat accounted for 75% thirty years ago against 25% of the secondary habitat; today the trend has completely reversed.

“It is obviously in the vocation of seaside resorts to have second homes, but the explosion of short-term tourist rentals, with new investors taking advantage of hyper-profitability, is drying up and suffocating the rental market in the year” , complains Yannick Moreau, mayor and president of the agglomeration of Les Sables d’Olonne.

Trying to overcome this problem, the elected official voted for a “rent for the year” plan. Passed between the Municipality and the owners of furnished properties, it aims to encourage the transition of accommodation facilities from tourist rental to annual rent, with an incentive contribution of up to 10,000 euros over three years, financed by the creation of a tax on vacant housing. At the same time, to make up for the lack of housing for seasonal workers, the implementation of a tripartite “summer rental” contract between tourist employers, employees and the agglomeration contributes to subsidizing the housing and reception of seasonal workers in the owners homes.

  • The principle of compensation in Bidart

For his part, Emmanuel Alzuri, Mayor of Bidart (Atlantic Pyrenees) and departmental councilor of the Atlantic Pyrenees firmly believes in the advantages of PLUs to promote housing for all: “It works: out of three housing units built, one is controlled, which facilitates access to housing for young people.”

To curb tourist rental, the Agglo Pays Basque introduced a compensatory measure last June: in the 24 municipalities within its perimeter, it is necessary to create conventional housing to obtain the right to direct it towards tourist rental. In other words, returning to the annual rental market the premises intended for other purposes (offices, garages, etc.) after transformation of the latter. Following legal actions, the provision was challenged by real estate agents and owners, the compensatory measures were relaxed and extended: only the premises located on the ground floor and whose window overlooks the public domain cannot be used as compensation.

“Legal fragility delays the application of effective measures”, he also regrets the mayor of Bidart.

  • Corsica: “Taxation favors seasonal rentals”

Much less nuanced, Jean-Charles Orsucci, mayor of Bonifacio, evokes a binding legal framework: “The laws accumulate and all go in the same direction: the scarcity of land available to Corsica. I have no right to say today, in my PLU, that I prefer to see land intended for primary residence rather than secondary. Grenelle, Elan … all these laws belie the rural fact and were drafted by parliamentarians made up of urban dwellers disconnected from our rural territory! The rarefaction organized in the name of conservation generates a spike in prices and French taxation encourages seasonal rentals. How do you want people to have a vocation to rent all year round? I don’t dream of cementing the coast, I just want to give young people the chance to stay here. Today 93% of the Bonifacio area is not buildable. Tension is increasing, the role of a government is to reconcile people and not oppose them: the younger generations will not accept to leave, we must trust us and give us the means to respond to these challenges! “.

In the Alps, the Great Lakes region also faces these same problems. With the arrival of over 10,000 inhabitants each year in the Thonon agglomeration, access to the property is increasingly difficult. Added to this are the additional cost of materials and the conditions for obtaining bank loans.

“83% of employers experience hiring difficulties due to housing problems, notes Cyril Demolis, mayor of Sciez, vice president of Thonon Agglomeration. To try to remedy this, we have set up the Bail Réel Solidaire (BRS, allowing land-based solidarity organizations to transfer real rights on buildings to low-income families, Ed.) and undertaken initiatives such as the acquisition of a former colony and a hotel whose accommodation will be reserved for seasonal workers. But we lack financial and human resources. “

  • The narrowness of the market in Guyana

Unlike other overseas territories, French Guiana is experiencing runaway population growth accompanied by illegal immigration that ends up in informal settlements.

“Since 2010, housing has been in sharp decline while demand is exploding againstnanny Marie-Laure Phinera-Horth, senator from Guyana, former mayor of Cayenne. More than 10,000 homes are classified as unsanitary, 83% of the population has the right to social housing, which represents only 12% of the rental assets. This is to say the narrowness of the market. “

Guyana also encounters another problem: the cost of building materials which can be multiplied by four due to the insulation of some municipalities: “The materials used in the construction of social housing should be recognized as basic necessities. It is also necessary to think about the risks of immersion inducing removals. I invite the state to invest more resources to support us ”.

  • An ecosystem vision in Pouliguen

In Pouliguen (Loire-Atlantique), the average price per m2 has reached 8,000 euros and the municipality has limited the number of rental units to 8%.

“We are conducting a strategy for monitoring and optimizing the territory, assures Norbert Samama, mayor of Pouliguen, vice president of the community of agglomerations of the Guérande-Atlantique peninsula. We have therefore just started about twenty inclusive social housing, and we are carrying out two experimental operations to raise collective in respect of size and the environment. But our initiatives are limited because in the right of first refusal we are always on the verge of litigation. With the relocation of habitat due to the retreat of the coast, a true view of the ecosystem is required. “