Prague may be short of flats in the future

Development of new flats is not keeping up with projected population growth

The population of Prague is expected to rise to 1.37 million by 2030, adding some 93,000 to the current population.

This estimate, which is based on the city's strategic plan for development, draws attention to the lack of new affordable housing being built.

The population increase will create demand for some 82,400 apartments, and to meet that need some 5,500 flats will have to be built each year according to daily Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD). Marek Vácha of the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) told the daily that over the past five years just 4,300 flats were built each year on average. In 2016, developers started construction on just 2,748 flats.

The lack of sufficient new housing and increased demand is likely to cause an increase in housing prices, according to an IPR analysis.

The city is planning to encourage building new flats in former industrial areas and rail stations, or other brownfield sites. The new metropolitan plan, though, won't be approved before 2022. The city hopes to approve development of some brownfield sites before the new metropolitan plan is completed.

Prague Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská (Three-party Coalition) told MfD that a zoning study of the Satalice area will likely be completed first. A zoning study for Rohanský ostrov and a transformation plan for Ruzyně are also in advanced stages. Plans to transform former rail stations at Bubny-Zátory and Žižkov should be completed after that.

The city also has lots that have stood vacant for decades. New regulations have eased some of the restrictions that kept these lots from being developed.

The IPR says that the amount of red tape hinders development. It now takes five to eight years from the start of a project to when people can move in. Often when a project is completed, conditions on the housing market are different than when the project began. Developers have long complained of the situation with regulations and the slow speed of approvals.

There are also some 200 multi-level empty buildings that could be converted to housing. These could be converted into some 6,500 flats. But the city needs to convince the owners to invest in the reconstruction, MfD reported.

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