EghtesadOnline: Latest figures published by Bank Maskan, the agent bank of Iran's housing sector, indicate that in the first month of the current fiscal year (March 21-April 20), both the number and value of loans pertaining to the sector have registered an increase.
According to the latest performance report published by the lender on its official website, the number of loans allocated this year for purchasing, renovating and building residential units increased by 30% compared with the corresponding period of the previous year.
During the month under review, a total of 14,413 loans aimed at the purchase, renovation and construction of homes were doled out to applicants, while 11,127 loans were extended in the same period of last year.
In the housing construction sector, the total number of loans allocated to applicants reached 3,164 in the aforesaid month. The facilities were handed out in the form of home construction loans that require no down payments or initial deposits and a variety of construction facilities from the Housing Savings Account, the lender's signature loan scheme, Financial Tribune reported.
The value of housing loans allocated by Bank Maskan during the period reached 1.18 trillion rials ($28.1 million), which indicated a surge of 197%.
"Housing experts believe that the increase in the number of home construction loans to applicants can be interpreted as a sign of an increase in the volume of residential construction across the country," the report said.
It did, however, note that since only the numbers for the first month of the year are out and half the month was taken up by the Norouz holidays, no definitive conclusion could be reached.
Bank Maskan also noted in its report that the reestablishment of non-deposit facilities aimed at the construction of residential units in Tehran up to a ceiling of 1.3 billion rials ($30,950) was a major factor influencing the nearly 200% increase in the value of loans allocated to builders in the first month of the year.
People looking to purchase homes received a total of 4,327 counts of loans from Bank Maskan through its Housing Savings Account, housing bonds and other facilities during the period, which was up by 22% when compared with the same period of last year when 3,549 loans were handed out.
HSA is the state-run lender's main initiative to boost the purchasing power of first-time homebuyers who constitute the main bulk of real demand in the housing market. They are required to make a down payment and wait for a year to become eligible for home loans that are by far the cheapest in the country.
According to Bank Maskan, the rial share of home loans aimed at purchasing residential units during the initial month of the current year registered an annual increase of 25% and reached more than 2.13 trillion rials ($50.72 million) from last year's 1.7 trillion rials ($40.47 million).
With regard to facilities allocated for renovating homes, the lender reports that the number of such loans indicated a 42% annual growth in the first month of the current year and reached 3,181 while only 1,847 loans were handed out last year.
In terms of rial value, a total of about 180 billion rials ($4.28 million) in renovation loans were doled out last year, whereas the number registered a 134% increase and reached 430 billion rials ($10.23 million).
"It is predicted that the rising trajectory of loan allocation to a variety of applicants in the housing sector would continue during the coming months," Bank Maskan said in its report.
As for reasons behind the prediction, the lender points out that a new wave of HSA applicants will soon become eligible for home loans as their one year wait comes to an end, while reestablishment of non-deposit home construction loans will be the second major factor maintaining the high flow of housing loans.