>@Anne-Cécile Auguin/EIB
©Anne-Cécile Auguin/EIB

André Yché, Chairman of the Executive Board of the SNI Group, and Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) – the EU bank – announced a EUR 500m loan to be deployed via Solinter Actifs 1, a company set up to finance the affordable housing revival programme in France. The loan was announced at one of the main beneficiaries of this EU financing, the “Made in Méditerranée” (MIM) residence in the EUROMEDITERRANEE 1 development at the heart of the Community of Aix-Marseille-Provence, which will be provided with 31 affordable housing units.

This is a large-scale financing operation that is also benefiting from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) – a core element of the Investment Plan for Europe, better known as the Juncker Plan – the key aspect for Solinter Actifs 1 being the granting of particularly attractive financing terms tailored to the sector and the type of investment.

The Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, said: “This agreement shows that the Investment Plan contains a strong social dimension and can make a genuine difference to people’s lives. I am delighted that thousands of people throughout France will have access to affordable, high-quality housing thanks to this EFSI-backed loan.”

This EU financing operation will enable the SNI Group to build 13 000 affordable housing units by 2019 in an area of France where housing demand outstrips supply, close to employment centres and in which rents are 15-20% below the market rates. This new stock of rental accommodation will offer a sustainable response to the middle classes who find it difficult to access housing on the free market. The housing units will also meet the latest energy performance standards.

In terms of economic impact, this operation is set to create 16 900 jobs in the construction and public works sector.

“I am very pleased to announce this new financing operation under the Juncker Plan for a project that is critical to people’s daily lives”, said Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “Access to housing near employment centres with attractive rental prices is very important for the region’s economic development. The new housing units will also meet the highest energy performance standards currently in force in keeping with our priority area of climate action. The Juncker Plan is continuing to flourish in France with 58 investment projects approved, which are expected to generate EUR 21.9bn of additional investment."

The SNI Group, France's leading lessor, is the driving force behind the growth of affordable housing, which is the missing link in the residential sector between social and private housing. The SNI Group has set itself the target of building 35 000 new affordable housing units over the next five years. Affordable housing is a key element in the revival of housing construction, which will serve to speed up production, preserve jobs and put the country’s real estate programmes on a sound financial footing.

According to André Yché, Chairman of the Executive Board of the SNI Group, “affordable housing is fully consistent with the SNI Group’s overall residential strategy. It is exactly what is needed to address the challenges currently facing cities and city dwellers. In committing to this development we aim to help sustain the middle classes, who are the ‘key workers’ in urban areas: teachers, nurses, regional public servants, etc.”

This is the EU bank’s second financing operation in support of affordable housing in France, bringing its overall contribution to the SNI Group to EUR 1bn. The EIB is a key player in the recovery through investment in France, where in 2016 it provided EUR 8bn of new loans to support projects in key sectors of the French economy such as housing, the training of young people, support for businesses and innovation, infrastructure modernisation and energy transition.