Real estate bubble and skyrocketing rents, the solutions: from the struggle for the house in Berlin to the Vertical Forest in social housing in Eindhoven. And in Vienna, 6 out of 10 houses have controlled rents

Ad Eindhoven the first “Vertical Forest” in social housing is presented on 1 October. In Berlin he won the referendum for expropriation of empty houses to large property owners. TO Vienna, after 50 years of socialist and social democratic juntas, the real estate stock is thus divided: 22% in public hands, 20% cooperatives with controlled rents without time limit and a 20% of private rent subject to forms of “rent control”. The paradox is that in the Austrian capital there is no need: because the great public interventionism makes the rents do not increase. Skyrocketing rents, housing poverty and the so-called “house affordibility” are not just a theme Milano. On the contrary. The big attractive cities of Europe and the world have seen their real estate values ​​grow by up to 200% in ten years. A bubble fueled by political and monetary choices of central banks that do not stop even in the face of the worst economic crises such as those of 2008 and 2020. With the costs of renting or buying a house that are disconnected from the economic fundamentals of a city: occupation e income over all.

The hundreds of data collected in January 2020 in the European Parliament in the Report “on access to decent and affordable housing for all” speak for themselves: according to estimates by Eurofound, inadequate housing costs the economies of EU countries 195 billion euros per year; in 2018, 17.1% of the inhabitants lived in housing overcrowded and 28.5% of young people aged 25-34 live with their parents. Between 2010 and 2018, one in ten people in the old continent spent more than 40% of their income on housing, including 38% of households at risk of poverty. Every night in Europe 700 thousand homeless they must sleep in shelters or on the street.

The “home” theme has entered arrogance in electoral campaigns for administrative offices Italians of 3-4 October 2021. The mayors are considered by the citizens i responsible even if in reality they have blunt arrows. In Milan, housing policies rely on three tools and some tinsel made up of experimental and pilot projects. Publicly owned public housing on one side (70 thousand between the Municipality and the Region). L’housing sociale that takes off with dozens of neighborhoods and an investment of half a billion euros onFormer slaughterhouse but that does not count more than a few thousand apartments (9 thousand in all of Italy). And finally the dysfunctional agreed fee, with the Municipality acting as an intermediary on the private rental market.

Boeri: “In Eindhoven the vertical forest in social housing. I hope that Italy accepts the challenge “ – What is being done in the rest of Europe? While the Lombard capital celebrates the new “Bosconavigli“, The horizontal forest designed by Stefano Boeri in the San Cristoforo area and which will be marketed with prices starting from 6,400 euros per meter, on Friday 1 October Boeri himself presents the first in the Netherlands”Bosco Verticale ”in social housing. “In Eindhoven we inaugurate the Trudo Vertical Forest, the first” Vertical Forest “totally in social housing”, says the archistar to It will be “a green tower in which the apartments will have a controlled rent. I hope that soon Milan and Italy will also be able to welcome the challenge to create green housing projects accessible to all“. In Italy the average price of social housing is 500 euros per month plus condominium and in Lombardy the maximum access ceiling is even set at 96 thousand euros of ISEE and the minimum must in any case cover three times the rent.

Dutch social housing is very different: out of the many technicalities, the management is cooperative with 80% of the houses being rented to people with a income not exceeding 39,055 euros. The remaining 20% ​​to the highest incomes, to guarantee cash flows able to finance the “low” pyramid. In government-subsidized homes, housing associations are required to keep the rent below the limit of 752,33 euro in 2021 (it was 737.14 euros in 2020). If all residents are under 23, the rent cannot exceed 442,46 euro, unless a child also lives there, in which case it can still be 752.33 euros. This happens in a country that has a GDP per capita 1.5 times higher than that of the EU average (45 thousand vs 30 thousand). In the Netherlands, the financing of social housing has not technically been supported by public spending since 1995. So much so that despite being the nation with the highest share of social housing in the OECD area, it is by no means among those that spend the most in relation to GDP. . But there is a system of guarantees supported by the central government, which allows cooperatives and real estate companies to obtain credit at affordable rates and there are quick and structural income-based rental subsidies.

The German real estate giants and the referendum for expropriation – A Berlin, on the other hand, he clearly won the referendum that makes “the giants of real estate tremble” for the expropriation of empty houses. In the German capital, 27% of rented real estate assets are in the hands of a few large real estate companies, contrary to the “small” fragmented real estate income in Italy. The two most important German private companies are German living (150 thousand apartments in the capital) e Vonovia, who are thinking of one merger worth 80 billion and a half million homes in Germany. After “Big Pharma” and “Big Oil” the dream of “Big Rent”.

Empty housing helps keep prices high and there is no city in Europe where the bulk of real estate investments has led to a rise monstre rents and values ​​of this magnitude: whoever bought a house in 2010 in Berlin would have paid an average of 1,700 euros per square meter and would sell today for 5,000. Introducing a form of “rent control” in 2015 did not slow down the rally: plus 44% on rents over five years. The movements for the house are fierce but the political proposals often hit the rocks of the feasibility economic and legal. In 2019 there was an attempt to impose a ceiling on the cost of rent by law and freeze the rents until 2025. While Bloomberg called it an “incoming disaster”, the Constitutional Court rejected it this year by requiring the restitution of all arrears. The referendum raises the stakes even speaking of expropriation. Which would have its feasibility in Article 15 of the German Constitution, according to the Financial Times.

Ten days before the referendum, German living e Vonovia they sold almost 15,000 apartments to the city, worth 2.46 billion euros. There is a plan to sell a total of 20 thousand in exchange for political support for the merger of the maxi group. “With this sale of real estate to municipal building societies, we are fulfilling a central promise in the Berlin Senate,” he said. Rolf Buch, CEO of Vonovia. “We are selling the apartments at a fair price”. The most radical part of the housing movements does not fit in and challenges it. After years of “speculation” – it is the thesis – now the public pays the private individuals dearly and provides them with liquidity for further lucrative financial operations just as the movements take hold. A double gain. Or, to make an Italian parallel, the privatizations of the nineties but on the contrary. Where instead of giving industries and concessions to private individuals, it is the latter who charge a high price for their partial and temporary one retreat.

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