Collateral damages of the housing crisis to the living conditions of the population / Synthesis note
R. Bigot - S. Hoibian - M. Babès
N° S3942 - Décembre 2011
Increasing housing prices were largely disconnected from the evolution of household incomes over the last fifteen years in France. Between 1996 and 2011, housing prices (in the ancient) have been multiplied by 2.5 and rents by 1.6 while the available per capita income was only multiplied by 1.5. Using data from the CREDOC survey “Living Conditions and Aspirations”, this research paper shows that increasing housing expenditures have a direct impact on the living conditions of the population.
First of all, increasing housing prices induced a structural change of the profile of the people occupying the different kinds of accommodation. Today, young people, singlehouseholds,or households with a low income level have more and more to rent an accommodation than to buy it. Secondly, housing expenditures impact more strongly other part of consumption than the years before, especially food-expenditures, transport,leisure time expenditures and household equipment. As a matter of fact, housing expenditures influence directly the purchasing power of a household. Furthermore,disposing of real estate property may induce a “wealth effect”: people think they are wealthy especially when prices are high and they feel more secure about the future.Finally, the study showed that home-buyers are living in better equipped households than on average.
In any case, housing expenditures that lead to financial difficulties may have also an impact on other domains of our fellow citizen’s everyday life. Repercussions seem more and more noticeable when speaking of the “household confidence”, their state of health or their ability to support a social network. The increasing of housing prices over the last fifteen years was enlarging the gap between home-owners who feel more and more secure and private renters who feel more and more vulnerable and socially declassed.The results of this study show that housing and more generally speaking parameters of property are appropriate statistical data which allow explanations about disparities in living conditions and opinions. All in all, public opinion might also be more reluctant than in former years regarding the public policies that pretend to make a future home-owner out of everybody and would prefer that everybody gets access to convenient housing at a reasonable price.