Thursday, August 15, 2013

Housing is Kicking Butt in France

There is a first time for everything. Today, I’m going to praise something about the French economy – well, sort of, at least. This year is proving to be “bad” for house building in recession-hit France, so there were “just” 342,000 housing starts in the year to June 2013, down 14.2 per cent on the previous 12 month period. Around 159,600 of these were flats and 161,900 of these were houses, according to the “Construction de logements” figures released by the French government’s environment, development and energy department. During the same time, 485,677 new building permits were issued. 

So far, nothing remarkable and you might be wondering why I am spending so much time detailing such obscure, seemingly irrelevant statistics – apart from the fact that by U.S. standards these are almost incredibly large numbers.

France had a population of 65.43M in 2011 compared to the U.S. population of 313.9M in 2012. Counting new homes, apartments, etc, they have an estimated 342,000 home starts while we will have adjusted annual housing starts clocking in at 911,000.

That is a building ratio of 0.52% for France (starts compared to population) while the US has a building ratio of only 0.27%.

The scale and scope of the U.S housing problem is laid bare by the French numbers, which show how things could be here were our regulatory systems, banking procedures and attitudes not completely and disastrously wrong-headed and dysfunctional. When we see what we are missing out on, our housing start rate feels even less acceptable and even more outrageous.

If France, one of the most regulated countries in the world, can figure out that housing needs to drive the economy, why is the US still struggling?  

1 comment:

Ibgreen said...

Coach, do you realize that if you search online the key words "French AND kick butt", that this is the only result listed?