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Building Blocks for a Better Functioning Housing Market in Chile

  • Aida Caldera Sánchez

Chile has made good progress in improving housing conditions, but still around 10% of the population lives in either overcrowded houses, or of inadequate quality and/or with poor access to basic services. Improving further housing conditions of the poor is important for curbing poverty and reducing inequality. First, better targeting of housing subsidies will be essential to free resources for those truly in need. The government should also rethink subsidies, which are currently directed exclusively at ownership. Means-tested rental cash allowances coupled with more balanced tenant-landlord regulations would strengthen the rental market, thus enhancing residential mobility and potentially reducing segregation. Second, better enforcement of social housing quotas for new building projects coupled with investments in urban renewal and social services in poorer neighbourhoods and developing unused land in urban areas could also help to reduce inequalities. Third, effective thermal and energy standards for buildings would improve the quality of the housing stock, protect public health and reduce air pollution. Limiting construction in fault lines and risky coastal areas could also increase Chile’s resilience to natural disasters. Fourth, taxing housing so owing is not favoured over renting would reduce distortions and make the tax system less regressive. Finally, enhancing the responsiveness of housing supply to demand would ensure there is a good match between housing construction and demand, and avoid that public support gets capitalised into housing prices. Principes fondamentaux pour améliorer le marché du logement au Chili Si les conditions de logement se sont bien améliorées au Chili, quelque 10 % de la population vit encore dans des habitations surpeuplées, de mauvaise qualité et avec un accès limité aux services de base. Il importe de poursuivre l’amélioration des conditions de logement des plus démunis pour endiguer la pauvreté et réduire les inégalités. Premièrement, il sera indispensable de mieux cibler les aides au logement afin de dégager des ressources pour ceux qui sont réellement dans le besoin. L’État devrait également repenser les subventions, qui ne s’adressent actuellement qu’aux propriétaires. En associant le versement aux locataires d’allocations sous condition de ressources et une réglementation plus équilibrée entre preneurs et bailleurs, on dynamiserait le marché locatif, renforçant par là-même la mobilité résidentielle et limitant probablement la ségrégation. Deuxièmement, une meilleure application des quotas de logements sociaux aux projets de construction et la mise en valeur des friches urbaines pourraient aussi contribuer à réduire les inégalités. Troisièmement, des normes thermiques et énergétiques efficaces pour les bâtiments amélioreraient la qualité du parc de logements, préserveraient la santé publique et diminueraient la pollution atmosphérique. En limitant les constructions sur les lignes de fracture et les zones côtières dangereuses, on pourrait également accroître la capacité du Chili à rebondir en cas de catastrophe naturelle. Quatrièmement, une fiscalité du logement qui ne favoriserait pas les propriétaires au détriment des locataires réduirait les distorsions et rendrait le système d’imposition moins régressif. Enfin, une meilleure capacité d’adaptation de l’offre à la demande de logements garantirait la bonne adéquation entre la construction et les besoins résidentiels et éviterait la capitalisation des aides publiques dans le prix des logements.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 943.

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Date of creation: 08 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:943-en
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