EghtesadOnline: Bank Maskan, the sole specialized bank in the housing sector, has recorded an annual increase of 52.8% in the volume of loans it has paid to finance related deals.
According to Hibna, the bank's news website, during the four months to July 22, the state-owned bank doled out 14,180 loans worth 50.14 trillion rials ($592.69 million).
According to the report, most of the loans were in the form of partnership contracts between the lender and depositors for renovating old homes in historical neighborhoods and rebuilding houses struck by earthquake.
The rise in the housing sector's lending comes in the midst of whopping home price hikes in recent months in tandem with the rial's depreciation against the US dollar, according to Financial Tribune.
The Central Bank of Iran’s latest report on Tehran’s housing market during the month under review showed that even as the number of deals declined by 7% annually, the average price of each square meter of a residential unit jumped by 54.2%.
Figures released by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, which usually precede CBI data, indicate that during the month to Aug. 22, apartment sales plummeted by 35% year-on-year.
According to a report in the Persian economic newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad, sales figures for the period are even lower than in the so-called “pre-boom” stage, which characterized the previous fiscal year that ended on March 20, 2018.
According to the report for the aforementioned month, only 11,154 residential real-estate deals took place. Some experts now believe that the property market is now on the brink of another recession, which could drag on for five years.
Most of the demand for homes in recent months has come from speculators who sought to invest in the property market to preserve their wealth, as the rial continued its fall.
These speculators have apparently turned their attention to other, more attractive assets, such as gold coin and foreign currency.
In response to the declining purchasing power of homebuyers, Bank Maskan has adjusted its policies.
The bank has mandated that loan allocation should focus on the construction of residential units with a “lower medium” floor area, which means 75 square meters or lower for Tehran and 100 square meters or lower for other urban areas.
It also aims to partially cover the widening gap between the people’s purchasing power and home prices by “increasing the share of loans”.
An official at Bank Maskan said the goal is to increase the ceiling of home purchase loans by employing housing bonds up to the current cap of loans paid from the Housing Savings Account.
The latter is the bank’s main home loan initiative that requires applicants to make down payments and wait for a year to become eligible for loans amounting to double the volume of their deposits.
Another policy of the bank is to activate affiliated companies in the housing and home construction sectors that will build homes with small to medium floor areas that are now in high demand.
The volatility in foreign currency and gold markets further intensified after US President Donald Trump announced in May that he is pulling his country out of the multilateral nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers in 2015.
Earlier this month, Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran’s purchase of US dollars and its trade in gold, precious metals, metals, coal and industrial software.