Not enough supply to meet demand, which leads to price inflation... The well-known land problem also affects businesses. For the craft sector, the Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts (Chambre des Métiers) has tried to put a number on it. The fifth survey on the subject was carried out between March and April 2020 among 796 businesses employing 19,604 people. There were a total of 8,031 craft businesses in 2020. The results, published in October 2021, show little change since the last survey in 2015.
At that time, there were 147 businesses looking for a site out of 502 who participated, for a total need of 89 hectares. Today, there are 198 businesses, employing 5,000 people, with a demand of 73 hectares. Whereas “the current offer in the regional economic activity zones (ZAE) is less than 10 hectares,” notes the chamber. Companies looking for land are mostly active in the construction sector (67%) and the mechanical sector (24%).
The north in demand
The search for land takes time: business leaders looking to relocate on average said they have been looking for 3.8 years. Nearly two-thirds (72%) stated that the supply of land was insufficient and 68% blamed the high price. In 79% of cases, companies were looking to move because of a lack of space. One company in five cited the end of their lease.
The Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts adds that certain criteria make it impossible for companies to locate in business parks. “Construction contractors, for example, are not allowed to store their materials outside and car garages are limited to 2,000m2 of showroom space,” says director Tom Wirion.
Most companies want to stay in the canton where they are established or decide to relocate to a neighbouring canton. Most of the demand is in the north, where 15 hectares are sought, followed by 14 hectares in Esch-sur-Alzette and 13 in Luxembourg.
To enable economic development, the chamber is therefore asking the government to “take the necessary measures to increase the supply of land”, in particular by speeding up authorisation procedures. Prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) had announced that he wants to tax speculation on building land and unoccupied flats in his state of the nation address.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.