The 49 land owners who hold a quarter of Luxembourg's plots
By Heledd Pritchard and Mélodie Mouzon
Close to 50 land owners collectively own a quarter of Luxembourg’s housing plots– the equivalent of nearly 190 international rugby fields– as the country struggles to find enough space to build much-needed homes, the Housing Ministry has said.
Some of the biggest landowners include property developers Arend & Fischbach, the City of Luxembourg commune and construction firm Groupe Giorgetti, owning more than 50 hectares each, similar in size to 10 rugby fields.
A total of 12 private individuals, several communes, the Red Cross non-profit organisation, firms such as ArcelorMittal and Cactus, and a religious group all own more than five hectares each, the ministry's report from late last week shows.
A shortage of land which can be built on is a huge contributor to Luxembourg’s expensive housing market. And with large amounts of land sitting in the hands of private owners, the situation is only getting worse.
In 2020-2021, private owners – whether a private individual or a legal entity – owned 84% of the total constructible land, a study by the Observatoire de l’Habitat, which carries out housing research for the government, found.
While housing prices increased by 65% for existing units and by 62% for homes under construction between 2010 and 2019, the value of land designated for construction rose by 82% over the same period.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel last year pledged to push land owners to build on empty plots classified as building land within a certain period. If the land is still empty at the end of that period, it will be reclassified as a non-constructible area, making it far less valuable.
Luxembourg has enough land to build between 50,000 and 80,000 housing units, a 2019 study by the Observatoire de l’Habitat shows. One-third of the available plots could be built on immediately with a simple permit.
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