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    Affordable and sustainable housing faces challenges in many EU countries, including increasing demand, a decline in stocks and limited resources.

    Housing is a basic human need, and the EIB is committed to easing the pressure on housing markets in Europe. Affordable and sustainable housing loans are a major element of the EU bank’s €150 billion in urban lending.

    The EIB's support includes the reconstruction of existing housing and the construction of new social and affordable accommodation. Projects range from housing schemes in small towns and rural areas that face demographic challenges to development projects in large cities with severe housing shortages.

    Scaling up Support on Affordable and Sustainable Housing

    An online event takes place on 18 July. Its objective is to gain a common understanding of the current housing problem and draft ideas for solutions. 

    Why does the EIB finance affordable and sustainable housing?

    The EIB is involved in social housing for two main reasons:

    • First, there is a lack of decent, safe and energy-efficient housing for lower income and marginalised populations. This can be attributed to incomplete or missing markets and coordination failures, which can have wider negative consequences, such as public health and safety issues, a shortage of workers, inefficient labour markets, poor use of energy and low energy efficiency.
    • Second, decent housing can help reduce inequality in society and defuse potential social tensions, which may be ignited by geographically polarised concentrations of different population groups and a poor social mix.

    The boundaries between affordable and sustainable housing are not clear-cut and may vary from country to country. The EIB addresses this by lending to the social and affordable housing sector in order to:

    • redress the lack of affordable and sustainable housing;
    • strengthen equity and cohesion.

    How we help

    The EIB is flexible in terms of its financing approach and has different products available.

    The InvestEU programme enables the EIB to accept higher levels of risk, for example when lending to affordable and sustainable housing companies with lower ratings.

    The EIB supports better funding and advisory services under the EU Urban Agenda. It works with partners to foster new social housing in transition countries where social housing is limited and regulatory frameworks have not been established.

    Besides financing, the EIB provides advice on affordable and sustainable housing topics linked to investment in the sector – in particular through our URBIS (Urban Investment Support) instrument available via the European Investment Advisory Hub.

    The things we take for granted: A home for Anselm

    For a long time, Anselm struggled to find a place to live in Dublin, until he became eligible for social housing. In July 2023, he finally moved into an affordable home run by Focus Ireland. It changed his life.

    The new apartment block was financed by the Irish Housing Finance Agency with the support of the EIB. Between 2016 and 2023, the EIB backed the agency with €650 million that resulted in 5,000 social and affordable housing units and 550 energy renovations.

    More investment in social infrastructure is one of the EIB’s top financing priorities in Europe.


    Eligibility criteria

    EIB activities support the implementation of the EU Urban Agenda. We invest in regions and nations where there is a clear policy and a regulatory housing framework.

    Housing eligible for EIB financing includes all non-market or regulated accommodation and housing. That includes:

    • social housing and affordable housing for rent;
    • refugee accommodation and reception centres, and associated infrastructure and start‑up costs (typically provided during an asylum process);
    • student accommodation and accommodation for apprentices;
    • care homes and assisted living facilities.

    The EIB checks affordable and sustainable housing projects against their eligibility criteria, income related and other social criteria, such as: rent setting, administration of waiting lists, transparency of the allocation process, market functioning across public and private providers, potential state aid issues and procurement arrangements for housing construction. Where some of these elements are not in place, the Bank seeks to incorporate appropriate safeguards on a project‑specific basis and provides advice if needed.

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