The recovery of the housing market depends on Next Generation EU funding | by Andrea Serri
According to numerous studies of consumer behaviour conducted in Italy and abroad over the past few months, the pandemic has enhanced the perception of the places we live in, their level of importance and our willingness to renovate them. This can be explained by a series of factors: longer hours spent inside, the need to reorganise spaces to work from home, and a greater focus on disinfection and hygiene. Our new way of living and perception of our homes, together with low interest rates and “forced savings” prompted by our inability to spend money on usual activities such as travel and eating out, are increasing the potential for investment in residential properties, both in Italy and abroad.
This is the framework within which public policies promoting the renovation of national building stock have been introduced. The measures are necessary to reboot the economy, in the tradition of Keynesian policies, and will serve to counteract the effects of the economic lockdown while at the same time focusing on energy requalification and seismic retrofitting of buildings in order to upgrade infrastructure to the highest standards. According to the International Energy Agency, over 40% of energy is absorbed by buildings, a higher percentage than transport and industry and greatly contributing to climate change.
These incentive measures may potentially apply to almost all Italian apartments and buildings given that only 2% of all dwellings fall under energy class A, and more than half are at least 40 years old. This situation, although with differences in terms of figures and situations, occurs in both European and non-European countries.
In this setting, the Recovery Fund was introduced in Italy in order to improve infrastructure and to promote consolidation and seismic retrofitting and energy requalification. At a European level it is the equivalent of other national incentive legislations on construction, which have all been backed up and increased in terms of their budget by the Recovery Plan, the program set up by the European Commission within the framework of the Next Generation EU.
This is a great opportunity to put the harsh pandemic winter behind us and finally welcome a thriving and blooming spring for the Italian and European building industry.