SOCIETY / Housing and construction: the challenges of a model to be renewed

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The housing/construction seminar organized by the Medef of Saint-Martin on Saturday March 2 highlighted the concerns of professionals in the sector, in the presence of Hervé Mariton, former minister and president of the Fédération des Entreprises des Overseas (Fédération des Entreprises des Overseas). FEDOM).

In the housing sector in the territory of Saint-Martin, the price per square meter is €22. With 13.000 households counted, 50% of which have children, the housing supply is clearly insufficient. During the seminar, the figures resulting from the first analysis carried out by the Territorial Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (ITSEE) were presented again (see our edition of February 12, 2024): 17157 housing units recorded in 2019, of which 75% of main residences, 15% of vacant housing and 10% of secondary residences. Faced with this observation and the stigma linked to the natural disasters from which the territory still suffers, Bernadette Davis, 2nd vice-president of the Community, declared that it was “almost impossible for the COM to be able to cope with everything that must be done ". The recurring problems in the housing and construction sector were more than ever at the heart of the debate, as evidenced by the intervention of Jean-Paul Fischer who highlights the sociology of the territory: "Today, the production system of housing according to the economic model is running out of steam. 16 social housing units have been built in Saint-Martin since 2017 compared to 180 housing units in 2022 in Guadeloupe and 300 in 2023. The cost, the scarcity of land and the inflation of construction costs are not major factors in the crisis but rather a progressive disengagement of the State against the backdrop of the abolition of tax exemption and the absence of a land use planning policy.” Observation shared by Rudy Alexandre, director of Operational Services at Semsamar, who called on politicians to define the areas to be developed in the development plan (city center extension/social or luxury housing, cycle paths) “by laying down elements structuring elements on the table” in order to better control and prevent risks.

The situation of employee housing for Eve Riboud, general director of Dauphin Telecom, is alarming, recalling that there is a 15-year wait for low-rent housing. In the second part of the seminar, the question of insurance and banks was raised: damage to works or ten years 30 to 50% more expensive overseas, gradual withdrawal of companies and refusal of insurance (agriculture/fishing, hotels/catering on board sea, pleasure), absence of insurance coverage for certain installations (swimming pools, photovoltaic panels) or risks (sargassum), +35% debt rate with credits not exceeding 25 years. The long list of professionals' concerns and worrying findings is now known to officials and the FEDOM. To be continued… _VX

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