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Monday, May 20, 2024

Developers seek gov’t assistance on socialized housing

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Home builders are seeking the government’s assistance on making mortgages on socialized housing more affordable to address the country’s huge housing backlog.

The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (CREBA) said that while the government hiked the ceiling for socialized housing to P1.2 million (about $24,000) under the national housing program, many Filipino families still could not afford the mortgages.

“This is a step in the right direction, but the law needs more teeth, and there are some loose ends that need to be tightened up,” CREBA president Noel Cariño said on the sidelines of the group’s recent general membership meeting in Makati City.

Cariño said while the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Housing (4PH) program was designed to close the wide housing backlog in about five years, “the rate at which these programs are being implemented may not meet targets.”

The group said that with fewer than 300,000 homes being built annually, it could take much longer to address the 6 million housing backlog.

CREBA also called for a review of the Comprehensive Integrated Shelter Finance Act (CISFA) to address homebuyers’ needs for affordable mortgages and interest rates.

CISFA is a secondary mortgage market that provides long-term and affordable housing financing to qualified low-income earners.

Cariño said many low-income earners were discouraged by the high interest rates of private banks. He said developers were also burdened by the requirement that they allocate 20 percent of their project cost for socialized housing.

“There are alternatives to this, but what we are seeking is for the government to incentivize the programs and not make them punitive,” he said.

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