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Financing of Social Housing

Study in 6 European Countries

Brussels, 3 July 2013 | Published in Economy

This report presents the results of a study carried out by Housing Europe Observatory between the end of 2012 and spring 2013. The idea of this study came from a proposal by the French federation USH together with the public bank Caisse de Depots et Consignations.

It aims at answering relatively simple questions: how much does it cost to build social housing, and why? How do social housing providers manage to balance costs and revenues linked with a new operation? What kind of financing models are used to support this kind of activity? The answers are nevertheless necessarily complex, as huge differences exist across countries (or even across projects within the same country) in the solutions adopted to finance social housing.

To better understand this complex issue, we looked in details at the general, ‘systemic’ characteristics of social housing in 6 countries, namely Austria, England, Finland, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. For each country, with the help of national experts selected among our members, we then identified and described a concrete operation –presented in this report anonymous form- which could be considered as exemplificatory of an ‘average’ new social housing project.
Below we report the results of this enquiry for each of the 6 analysed countries, and then conclude this exercise by attempting a cross-country analysis, which necessarily presents significant limitations at this stage.