Abstract : The part played by the housing market on the social division of space is at the centre of this survey focused on “Les îles du Ponant”. These islands spaces are experiencing on the one hand a phase of population decrease together with a slump of traditional activities, on the other hand are submitted to high pressure resulting from the evolution of land ownership,
Indeed, when the opposition between permanent inhabitants and second home holders is recurrent, this study has mostly made it possible to bring to the fore, in the islands by and large, how the estate market could have an influence on the social reconstruction of the island population.
Identifying social groups lying on geographical origins and on the socio-professional origin, has set forth several profiles of significant inhabitants. A decrease of regional residents and “working classes” residents is noticeable on all the islands, where the latter are being replaced by well off residents from the Paris region. Far from diversifying and opening to other profiles, the market is adding to the leading position of those people from the Paris region, already strongly established in the small islands closer to the mainland.
Such a situation makes it difficult for the inhabitants living on the islands all throughout the year to find lodgings. The policies led by the town councils precisely try to meet this issue. However, in spite of the policy involved, the trend could not be reversed: permanent inhabitants are getting fewer and fewer, and more and more often confined to villages.
Last, resorting to the cadastre made it possible on the one hand to quantify the already very heavy hold of second home owners over both built and non-built property and on the other hand to notice that though the housing market brings very slow changes to the real estate lay out, it is nevertheless continually intensifying the hold of second home owners over built property.