EghtesadOnline: The number of people, mostly first-time homebuyers who have registered to receive government facilities for boosting their purchasing power in the housing market, is drawing closer to half a million.
Bank Maskan, the agent bank of the housing sector and the administrator of Housing Savings Account, announced on Sunday in the latest performance report on its website that the scheme registered more than 415,000 applicants by the end of the previous fiscal year on March 20, 2018.
HSA is an initiative mainly aimed at first-time prospective homeowners, which requires applicants to make down payments ranging from 400 million rials ($9,523) to 800 million rials ($19,047) and wait for a year to receive double that amount. Couples can apply together and get two loans' worth.
According to Bank Maskan, the initiative passed the 400,000 milestone when 18,152 applicants opened new accounts during the final month of the previous year. Of that number, a total of 5,055 applicants were from Tehran, according to Financial Tribune.
"In the Iranian month of Bahman (Jan. 21-Feb. 19), a total of 20,062 applicants invested in HSA and the share of applicants from Tehran was 5,332 people," the report reads.
A total of 20,162 applicants made down payments in the scheme during the 10th month (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) and 5,448 of them did so in Iran's capital city.
This brings the total count of new applicants during the previous winter to about 60,000. The initiative was established in June 2016 and is nearing its third anniversary.
However, Bank Maskan statistics indicate that only slightly more than 10% of all applicants have received loans.
"Considering the trend of the maturity periods of HSA contracts, the trajectory of loan allocations is rising," the bank's report said.
According to the lender, a total of 7,342 applicants received their loans during the final month of the previous year, of which 2,344 applicants were from Tehran.
The number of applicants who obtained their facilities during the penultimate month of last year was 5,183 and 1,713 of them were from the capital city. During the month ending Jan. 20, 4,423 Iranians were awaiting HSA loans and the share of applicants from Tehran stood at 1,560.
"The trend is indicative of a rise in the volume of paid facilities to applicants in the coming months," Bank Maskan said.
When HSA was established, its loans were offered at double digit interest rates, but at present and after a recent directive by the Money and Credit Council, Iran's highest financial decision-making body, eligible applicants in non-distressed and distressed urban areas will respectively have to pay 8% and 6% on their loans.
Furthermore, the condition of being a first-time homebuyer who has not previously received any facilities from Bank Maskan has been eliminated for those living in distressed urban areas in line with the administration's policy of revitalizing those areas.
The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development has called for raising the ceilings of HSA loans, but MCC has yet to take a decision on that front.