EghtesadOnline: The longstanding goal of housing sector recovery could be realized by the end of the current year (March 20, 2018), as a top official with the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development said the administration of President Hassan Rouhani wishes to transform the agent bank of the housing sector into a development bank.
“At present, the transformation of Bank Maskan into a development bank is on the agenda of the government, and the Central Bank of Iran must devise policies and regulations for the housing development bank so that they may be reviewed by the Economic Commission of the administration,” Ali Chegini, who heads the ministry’s Housing Economy Department, was also quoted as saying by the official website of the Roads Ministry.
The idea of converting Bank Maskan into a development bank was floated a number of years ago, but has yet to become a reality. Such a move would benefit a number of sectors, as Iran has never had a development bank in the field of housing construction.
A development agent bank of the housing sector would focus on funding mass builders that could give an impetus to the supply of affordable houses to middle class families, according to Financial Tribune.
Chegini said the ministry pays attention to interest rates and the repayment period when it comes to the mortgage market, as well as loans and Housing Savings Account.
The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development intends to reduce the rates, increase the repayment period and reduce the waiting period for loan applicants.
The Housing Savings Account is a government scheme spearheaded by Bank Maskan that asks applicants, mainly first-time homebuyers, to make a deposit and wait for a year to become eligible to receive facilities. Owing to its low interest rates, it has been relatively popular.
As Chegini says, reducing the rates on loans and extending the repayment period could help applicants take loans for buying a house.
“Such conditions could lead to a potential increase in the ceiling of loans,” he added.
On decreasing the waiting period for receiving loans, he said the banking system must first become capable in terms of assets, otherwise “it could lead to their further indebtedness to the central bank like similar short-term plans”.
Chegini noted that the durability of housing schemes such as the Housing Savings Account depends on the scheme being autonomous while getting the government’s support.
Bank Maskan has 1,226 branches across the country and is the only bank granting housing loans.
New Credits for Mass Housing Builders
Mass housing builders will get a new round of loans for renovating construction in distressed urban areas, a deputy minister at the Roads Ministry said.
“Since the ministry has prioritized the renovation of distressed urban areas, the Credit Commission of the central bank approved the allocation of new loans for this purpose,” Mohammad Saeid Izadi also told IBENA.
According to Izadi, Bank Maskan will allocate such loans to mass housing builders from the resources of the Housing Savings Account up to 10 trillion rials ($266.6 million) to be strictly used for the renovation of distressed urban areas.
In order to become eligible for the loans, the builders must make deposits with the Housing Savings Account.
“Bank Maskan is obligated to submit a report on the progress of loans and housing constructions to the central bank every six months,” Izadi said.