Real Estate: Luxury or Hard Work?

A film by Arnaud Muller and Jean-Louis Perez
First broadcast April 20, 2011 on France 3

This documentary investigates the realities of the housing market in France. This investigation conducted by several journalists took several months. Applications for public housing in France reached record levels; 1.2 million people are on the waiting list. But the grant regulation is not always respected. In the chic Paris suburb of Neuilly sur Seine, some public housing tenants have luxurious holiday homes. Who’s taking advantage of the housing crisis?

The investigation articulates in four parts: “Is Paris Spiralling out of Control?”; “The Housing War”; “Who Framed Public Housing?” and “All owners, a campaign pledge”.

After jobs and employment, housing has become the primary concern of the French. Within 10 years prices have doubled and rents have increased by 50%. Paris, for example, is a city of all excesses. And the luxury market is booming: high-end properties sell within days and a square meter is trading for up to €30,000! There is stiff competition for a duplex with garden on the prestigious Avenue Foch or a mansion at the Invalides. And while some can afford these dream properties others are living a nightmare as they search for housing. And it’s not just the poor. For the middle classes, too, housing has become a luxury. Because of rising prices, many are forced to leave the big cities to settle in the suburbs, others find themselves in substandard housing while waiting for better days. Who benefits from the housing crisis? Who are the key players in this lucrative market? Are election campaign promises actually worth anything? Is the “France of home-owners” a fantasy?

An edifying, powerful investigation, revealing uncomfortable truths. The outcomes highlight owners’ immorality, sometimes supported by the powers that be.