Housing construction at the highest level since the end of 2012

Housing construction and building permits are increasing in France. At the end of March, 393,400 housing units had been started in the past year and 465,100 building permits were granted.

Real estate and building permits in France continued to show steady annual growth in March, reaching its highest level in nearly four and a half years, according to statistics released Friday by the Ministry Of Housing. On a year-to-date basis, at the end of March, a total of 393,400 developments had been started on a gross basis, an increase of 15.5% compared with the previous year and even higher since October 2012.

Construction continues to accelerate overcoming its original estimate of 13.0% for the first period from March 2016 to February 2017 to reach 13.5%. In the first quarter of 2017, compared with the same three months of the previous year, they even jumped 18.5% to 97,100 units. Many building permits are also being grants and rose 15.9% from January to March, to 113,400 units in a year, the ministry said in a statement.

Over the period April 2016-March 2017, cumulative building permits have reached a record high since May 2013, to 465,100 permits, against a total of 456,100 (revised figure of 7,300 units) over twelve months to the end of February. In the first quarter of 2017, housing construction and building permits were also up, but markedly less compared to the previous three months, with respective increases of 5.1% and 1.8% respectively adjusted for seasonal variations and working days.

Standard housing has increased by 17.8 per cent to 90,100 units in the first three months of the year. On the other hand, resident housing (for seniors, students), a more unstable niche segment, jumped 27.9% to 6,900. On average during the first quarter, the rate of cancellation of building permits was 14.2% for individual houses, 0.1 points above its long-term average. Collectively, it more than exceeds its long-term average, at 22.8% against 20.2%.

There was little change in the average start-up time for individual houses, at 4.6 months on average (-0.1 months compared to the end of February) and 8.6 months (unchanged) for collective housing. Signs confirming the increase in construction are on the rise, both in data published in mid April by the Confederation of Crafts and Small Construction Enterprises (Capeb) and in the favorable quarterly results of the INSEE, published Thursday. But the credit insurer Coface has estimated in a note published last week that the recovery of the sector could be bridled next year under the effect of an increase in rates that would erode the purchasing power of households.