Case di carta: la nuova questione abitativa

Over recent years, people have again been talking about a housing crisis. Looking at the data for the number of families who are owner occupiers (80% according to a 2006 estimate from Istat, the Italian national institute of statistics) it would seem paradoxical to talk of a crisis; but a closer analysis of the situation shows that the question is serious. First of all, the data relating to the increase in rents charged is extremely striking (49% on average but 149% in Venice and 91% in Roma), as are the figures fort he increase in the value of the properties (40% on average) and fort he increase in evictions for non payment for rent (in 2004 these represented 71% of the total compared with just 13% in 1983). This the new housing question whose salient feature is the vulnerability of families exposed to rent increases in a free market contest. The financial mechanism created in the years is known in the literature as ABS or simply Securitization. This is a mechanism that is founded on the need to increase market property values and rents. Houses thus became ‘paper houses’: they were issued as securities on the financial market to produce profitability and to support the banking system and company restructuring, and especially to feed profits. The cost of this restructuring process weigh non only on families renting their houses, but also on those who are buying, since they burden themselves with high mortgage repayments. Properties companies are making unprecedented profits and increasing their turnover from year to year. The housing question therefore has features that are quite different from those experienced in the past, and the solutions also need to different.