For the government, the revival of the construction sector embodies a much-desired economic recovery, even if the future of the sector remains uncertain.
Bruno Le Maire said from the first day of deconfinement, May 11, that the building ” is an absolutely vital sector for the French economy ” The Minister of Economy and Finance even went so far as to speak of ” symbol of the French economic recovery ” This Monday May 18 on Franceinfo, he again took the building as an example during an interview, declaring that it exists ” areas where things are accelerating well ” ” At the beginning of May, 45% of the activity was stopped “In the sector, he said, against” 28% today ” For public works, 80% of the sites were stopped at the time of confinement, only 17% to date.
Exciting figures already put forward Sunday May 17 by the Minister of the City and Housing, Julien Denormandie, who spoke to him of 72% of the sites having resumed. The government wants them all to start again at the end of May. But professionals in the sector are more cautious.
The building sector weighed nearly 11% of GDP in 2018
The building represents more than 5% of the French economy. However, adding all the services related to real estate, it weighed nearly 11% of GDP in 2018, according to a study “Real Estate & Urban Employment Monitor”, dating from December 2019, carried out by EY, the Foundation Palladio and Business Immo. The services cited are provided by architects, real estate agents or even real estate services to businesses. The sector, in the broad sense, employed, according to this study still, nearly 2.1 million people, that is to say 7.7% of the active with a job.
The health of the sector guarantees an adequate supply of housing, which is essential for the proper functioning of the entire economy. However, its restart depends on the attitude of its three main categories of customers: individuals, private groups and public actors (state and local authorities). Private groups involve developers who build the homes. They are still trying to understand the immediate future of the market.
Stop building permits
Even if the government has taken steps to ensure a rapid resumption of the building permit review after confinement, the halt could be brutal. There have been no more monthly numbers since the start of the crisis. The promoters fear blockages, in particular because of the uncertainties around the municipal elections, interrupted between the two towers during the confinement.
The CEO of the first French promoter had declared at the beginning of May in the Journal du Dimanche not to believe ” to return to normal before the end of the year ” Alain Dinin, of Nexity, then specified that ” for property development, the year 2020 will be down significantly, by at least 100,000 dwellings ” However, he stressed that ” the demand for housing, driven by demography and the deficit in structural supply, does not disappear: it refers ”
Individuals could abandon their work projects
Concerning individuals, several questions remain unanswered as to their desire to carry out work at home, after months of partial unemployment for some, or even total inactivity. ” Customers are worried about the future “Said Patrick Liébus, president of the Confederation of Crafts and Small Building Companies (Capeb). ” Some have saved, but others have lost everything ”, underlines the president of the organization which brings together the craftsmen of the building. He speaks in particular of traders, hoteliers, restaurateurs, who “ are not necessarily in good condition »To make quotes.
In the public sector, the concerns of the profession are similar. The crisis could leave local communities devastated. According to the National Federation of Public Works (FNTP), the crisis could cost communities up to nine billion euros, in particular due to the stoppage of the real estate market, which deprived them of local taxes. The FNTP already speaks of a ” air pocket “In the tenders. Many companies in the sector may not survive. In a press release at the end of April, the federation asked for support from the local public order, without waiting for the recovery plans, discussed once the health crisis had passed.