The lack of social housing in Narbonne is being criticized.

l’essentielIn a 73-page report, the regional chamber of accounts provides a critical overview of the management of Domitia Habitat’s public real estate, highlighting the insufficient supply in relation to the needs and the unsuitability of its 3,600 housing units for the public. However, the improvement in the office’s financial situation suggests new positive prospects for the coming years.

It is not news for any Narbonne resident who has faced a housing search. It is particularly challenging to find a suitable property in the real estate market in this city, especially when you are applying for social housing.

C’est en tout cas le constat sans appel dressé par la chambre régionale des comptes dans un rapport de 73 pages rendu public et analysant la gestion du logement social depuis 2016 sur le territoire de Narbonne.

The first point discussed is the issue of housing supply « with a social housing sector that is poorly suited to the intensity and nature of the needs. » Due to a dynamic demography and the vulnerability of the population (with a poverty rate of 19.7% and three neighborhoods in Narbonne where 45 to 60% of residents have incomes below the poverty threshold), there is a large portion of the population eligible for social housing. At the same time, the Domitia Habitat office has been unable to undertake real estate operations with more than 30 units since 2015, and it is also not allowed to construct housing in Narbonne, « as the city refuses to do so in a context of limited availability of land. »

It is difficult to meet the annual demand of 4,200 to 4,400 requests, half of which are for the first time. To make matters worse, the housing stock decreased between 2018 and 2022 due to the destruction of the Peupliers residence, which was only partially compensated by new constructions. Furthermore, the land will not be reused as it will soon be sold to a real estate developer. As a result, the number of housing units managed by the office decreased by 2.4% between 2018 and 2022. The regional audit chamber notes that Domitia Habitat has failed to meet the demand. The chamber also observes that the Grand Narbonne is characterized by a peri-urban residential production model that helps stabilize, albeit not alleviate, existing tensions in terms of housing accessibility through the intervention of private developers and social landlords.

Another major concern for Domitia Habitat is the fact that its property portfolio is not well aligned with the profile of tenants and applicants. This « mismatch » is highlighted in the report. The demand is primarily for T3 (35%) and T2 (33%) units for single individuals (44%) or single-parent families (29%). However, nearly a third of the housing stock consists of units with at least 3 rooms (T4 and T5). This type of offering is considered « excessive » when compared to the « deficient » supply of T1/T2 units.

Consequence: there are issues of overcrowding and under-occupancy. There are 571 housing units for the first case and 825 for the second. The committee notes that « under-occupancy can worsen the vulnerability of tenants since the average rent depends on the size of the unit. » Thus, the housing stock has a vacancy rate of around 3%, which has decreased by three times in two years, and a high number of rejections from individuals eligible for social housing because they did not find the offer from the housing authority suitable.

564 nouveaux logements d’ici 2030

Among the improvements and thanks to a « strong financial situation » resulting from the recovery plan between 2012 and 2017, the production goals for the future are ambitious, aiming to deliver 564 new properties by 2030, increasing Domitia habitat’s housing stock to 4,154 units, a 15% increase compared to 2021. However, the chamber also expresses regret over the focus on constructing T3 units, stating that this allocation does not align with the expressed needs.

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