City approves plan for more flats

The city wants to identify lots and speed up the process

The Prague City Council asked the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) to prepare two documents in the next half year for new housing construction. The most important is a current list of city-owned land suitable for new housing construction.

There will also be an overview of brownfields showing which areas can be used for construction in subsequent years.

“The current coalition has committed itself in its program to promote housing availability. In particular, we will systematically select and prepare, especially in the planning area, suitable land for new housing construction. The underlying documentation must be sufficiently practical and realistic to enable the city management to work continuously,” Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček (United Force for Prague) said.

"The general objective is to create conditions for a rapid increase in the supply of new flats, which can be considered inadequate in view of current demand, thus reducing the pressure on the growth of both housing prices and rents,” he added.

As with the selection of lots that IPR carried out for the previous administration for land for constructing public housing and social housing, the key is the ownership of the land and the possibility of using it based on the valid territorial plan.

Adam Zábranský (Pirates), councilor for housing stock, said that in the first phase, only land that is the exclusive property of the city will be selected, including land that has been entrusted to city districts, and which allows for housing construction.

In the second phase, by the end of June this year, the selected land will be further assessed from the point of view of urban planning and its capacity for anticipated construction. “The result should be a significantly higher number of lots of land for housing than in the original analysis,” Zábranský said.

The designation of lots for housing construction follows the 2016 update of the Strategic Plan of the City of Prague, which names support for affordable housing as a crucial area.

“The lack of flats is a major long-term problem of Prague, so we want to increase the offer of apartments in the market by supporting housing construction on the land that the IPR identifies, for both rental and cooperative units. At the same time, however, a substantial acceleration of the authorization of housing construction is necessary, especially through legislative measures. All this can increase the availability of housing in Prague,” Hana Kordová Marvanová (United Force for Prague), councilor for housing support and legislation, said.

The process for getting a building from the permit phase to being ready for occupancy in the Czech Republic is one of the longest and complicated in Europe, and is often cited as a factor in the lack of new housing on the market.

Flat prices and rent prices have been increasing in Prague since 2015, with developers concentrating on the luxury market. Almost no new flats have become available in the lower or middle price range.

The average price of a new flat in Prague last year rose 18.6 percent compared to the previous year to more than Kč 101,061 per square meter, according to combined data from developers.

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