IDEA supports the Brussels government in improving accessibility to housing: soon 25% public housing in new projects

IDEA supports the Brussels government in improving accessibility to housing: soon 25% public housing in new projects

Against a backdrop of a crisis in affordable housing (with more than 50,000 households waiting for social housing in Brussels), the Brussels Government is considering the introduction of new levers to speed up the creation of affordable housing. The office of the Secretary of State for Urban Planning has commissioned a feasibility study to examine the advisability of imposing a proportion of public housing in new housing programmes in Brussels, going beyond the existing system linked to urban planning charges.

Drawing on its experience in urban planning regulations, housing policy and financial feasibility, IDEA Consult carried out a study on behalf of the cabinet on the parameterisation of this measure through various scenarios. In addition to in-house financial and contextual expertise, various public and private players in Brussels were consulted to validate the hypotheses, indicators and feasibility of the proposed models.

The study identified different application scenarios and highlighted regional and international examples to better understand the constraints of this type of measure (Flanders, Wallonia, France, Catalonia, etc.). The results show that :

  • It is possible to impose a proportion of public housing in new programmes, as is the case in other countries (such as France). This measure promotes social diversity and enables the development of affordable housing, regardless of the value of the neighbourhood.
  • To make this measure sustainable for the actors in Brussels and the region as a whole, it would be possible to set a specific purchase price for these housing units. This would make it possible to decouple the purchase price for public players from the sharp increases in the real estate market. It should be possible for public actors not to purchase these homes if their financial resources do not allow it. In this way, the 25% of housing units are sold by the developer on the open market.
  • In order to buy at the same price throughout the region, whatever the price level of the neighbourhood, it is necessary to provide for a transition period so that developers and landowners can adapt to these new regulations. - By setting the minimum threshold for allocated programmes at 3,500 m², we would achieve half of the new housing production in the Brussels region.

Following this research and parameterisation work carried out in 2023, IDEA Consult, with its experience of the workings of the Brussels institutions, continued to assist the Secretary of State's office in 2024 with the submission of the text, its presentation to the various consultative bodies and the amendments to be made following the various opinions issued.

arrow team members
foto Loïc Géronnez
Loïc Géronnez
Expert Territorial Development & Real Estate
foto Johan Puel
Johan Puel
Consultant Real Estate & Territorial Development