European Property Federation

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EU Policy

Introduction

Real estate was a late arrival to EU policy - EPF's foundation in 1997 corresponded to the first major EU initiatives impacting the industry - but the accelerating integration of the Union and the Eurozone have brought land and buildings and those who invest in them to centre stage.

This doesn't mean that regulation of real estate has radically shifted from the municipal, regional or national levels to the EU, far from it. Property is an eminently local affair requiring equally local political and administrative oversight. European constitutional principles recognise this and provide the tools to oppose encroachment by those who might forget. But at the same time construction, real estate and the property professions are 10-12% of any economy, so practically everything impacts real estate.

And that's how the EU got its property foothold: via business, industrial, environmental, energy, agricultural and social policies with real estate fallout: free circulation of capital meant freedom to invest in real estate anywhere without hindrance; freedom to provide services meant that property professionals could offer, and owners seek, services anywhere they wanted. Property was massively caught up in the passage of environmental, energy and climate action policy from national to EU level and in response to the crisis, accelerated economic, banking and budgetary union have multiple real estate impacts happening right now.

EU Regulation

♦ EU Internal Market for Real Estate

  • Long-term investment funds
  • Retail services (shopping centre development)
  • Capital requirements (property-relevant ratios)
  • Mortgage credit
  • VAT (property tax exemptions and reduced rates)
  • Alternative investment fund managers (including real estate fund managers)
  • State aid to social housing companies competing for middle income tenants
  • Accession of new member states to the Union (freedom to invest in real estate in these countries without obstacle)

♦ Construction (EU competitiveness strategy)

♦ Digital Agenda (installation and access to high-speed broadband infrastructure)

♦ Social Affairs (equal treatment for the access of the disabled to buildings)

♦ Public Health (smoke-free environments)

♦ Energy Efficiency of Buildings

  • Near-zero energy new build
  • Energy performance renovation: . Renovation triggers and requirements; . Methodology for calculating cost-optimal levels of minimum energy performance requirements
  • Energy performance certificates: . EU requirements for national EPCs; . Common EU EPCs for non-residential buildings
  • Energy audits
  • Metering and billing
  • EU funding for energy efficiency in housing

♦ Renewables in Buildings

♦ Environment

  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Soil Protection
  • EU Ecolabel for Office Buildings
  • Water Performance of Buildings

EU/Eurozone Economic Governance

♦ Shift of tax burden from labour to property

♦ Review of reduced VAT rates including renovation and repair of housing

♦ Rationalisation and liberalisation of rent regulation

♦ Rationalisation of planning and zoning law

♦ Elimination of obstacles to shopping centre development

♦ Reduction of obstacles to cross-border construction and real estate services

♦ Increase construction competition

♦ Increase energy efficiency in buildings