Oise Habitat (OPH for Oise municipalities), OPAC Amiens (OPH for Amiens metropolitan area), Opal (OPH for Aisne) and Reims habitat (OPH for Greater Reims) have signed a EUR 107m, five-year finance contract with the European Investment Bank (EIB), supported by the Investment Plan for Europe (the Juncker Plan). This is the first time that social landlords have called upon the EIB directly. This loan package will enable them to finance 1 300 new homes and 4 200 renovations for a total investment amount of EUR 326m.
“The European Investment Bank (the EU bank) is happy to provide EUR 107m of support for Réseau Canopée's project to renovate and build social and affordable housing,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “Housing is a key factor in enabling the most fragile segments of the population to return to work. By supporting public low-rent housing agencies, the EU is clearly signalling its commitment to promoting economic development everywhere.”
European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici added: “The European Fund for Strategic Investments’ support for Réseau Canopée's social housing project shows the social dimension of the Juncker Plan, which is also set for expansion in the future. It is a project we can be proud of, and that shows the benefits the EU can bring to the daily lives of French people.”
Support for construction and energy-efficient renovation
Against the backdrop of a challenging economic environment (rent cuts with RLS, VAT increase), the EIB funds will enable the beneficiary organisations to maintain their construction and energy efficient renovation objectives.
The loans offered by the EIB have a fixed interest rate, with a grace period option. They come in addition to traditional operation financing mechanisms, in particular from the Banque des Territoires (formerly the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations), which remains the main financer.
A model project for the EIB
This operation falls under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (the Juncker Plan), for which France is the largest beneficiary in absolute terms, with EUR 60.5bn of investment mobilised. It addresses the EU's objectives for investment in cohesion regions (areas with more disadvantaged populations), as well as in the energy transition as the homes built or renovated in this way will meet the strictest energy efficiency criteria. Lastly, it provides support to the low-rent housing sector against a backdrop of budgetary constraints that are negatively impacting the four agencies in question.
The investment made with this EUR 107m in financing will help create 4 500 (direct and indirect) jobs, mostly in the Hauts-de-France region where three of Canopée's four agencies are located.
The advantages of Réseau Canopée
Acting individually, the agencies would not have been able to benefit from financing of this kind – only by acting together could they move forward with this project. The EIB was also very aware of the innovative nature of Canopée's cooperative approach.
“This financing will enable the agencies to pursue their construction and energy-efficient renovation objectives against a backdrop of budgetary constraints,” highlighted Bernard Domart, Director General of Oise Habitat and President of Canopée. “This EU support for public housing agencies is an opportunity for the areas in which we operate. It is a major victory for the Réseau Canopée, which has only just celebrated its first birthday.”
Created in January 2018, Réseau Canopée consists of four public housing agencies with 53 000 homes: Oise Habitat (OPH for Oise municipalities), OPAC Amiens (OPH for Amiens metropolitan area), Opal (OPH for Aisne) and Reims habitat (OPH for Greater Reims). Canopée aims to develop the pooling of resources via the exchange of best practices, joint purchases and the management of innovative joint projects by the four organisations. For additional information, please visit: www.reseau-canopee.fr
EIB financing for social and affordable housing in the EU
The EIB has supported the regulated rented social housing sector since 2000. In the last few years, the Bank has also broadened its scope to include affordable rented housing to meet financing requirements not covered in this segment of the housing market. Affordable housing targets households with an income that is too high to benefit from social housing, but not high enough to get a mortgage or rent a home at market prices. To date, the EIB has approved loans totalling EUR 15bn for 76 projects to renovate and build rented social and affordable housing in 12 EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom (most of which has been for the United Kingdom). In France, the loans provided to this sector since 2006 total EUR 1.6bn.
More information on the EIB's urban agenda: http://www.eib.org/projects/sectors/urban-development/index.htm