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Resettlement housing slumps

Update: October, 22/2014 - 09:02

There are few takes for resettlement housing despite high demand, Vu Thi Vinh, secretary general of the Viet Nam Urban Planning and Development Association, tells Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam.

In your opinion, how is pressure to find housing in Ha Noi different from in other cities?

Ha Noi is one of Viet Nam's biggest cities, which is why demand for housing there is higher than most other places. Ha Noi's population density is about 2,140 people per sq km. Most people live in the inner city, from south of the Hong river to the second ring road. Dong Da precinct has the densest population, with 40,300 people per sq km. It is followed by Hai Ba Trung precinct with 31,300 people per sq km, Hoan Kiem with 29,500 people per sq km and Ba Dinh with 26,300 people per sq km.

In the past few years, Ha Noi authorities have adopted policies to encourage housing development. But housing has remained a big problem for low-income people, including public employees and even Government officers.

In Viet Nam there are five housing sectors: commercial, affordable, resettlement, Government and private houses. Among the five, which faces the most difficulties?

I think resettlement housing is facing the most problems. It needs proper solutions from the Ha Noi authorities. According to incomplete statistics, since 2000, Ha Noi has implemented 80 housing resettlement projects with more than 20,000 apartments, 11,000 of which have been filled.

Ha Noi always places housing resettlement projects a top priority when planning housing construction projects. But the demand is always bigger than the supply. Demand is high, but housing development companies are not interested in housing resettlement projects. Why is this?

Several things make companies shy away from resettlement projects. It yields low benefits. It also doesn't offer the land use price and tax reduction benefits affordable housing construction does. As a result, affordable housing is about 10 to 20 per cent cheaper than resettlement housing. That's why many housing construction companies have asked the Government to let people having their land used for public projects buy affordable houses and eliminate the resettlement housing programme altogether.

Many people are not interested in buying houses in the resettlement projects, because they are of poor quality. Why is that?

Low quality, poor infrastructure and poor management are among the many complaints lodged by residents living in those houses. Under the law, resettlement houses must have super markets, schools and other essential services near them. But in reality, none of our resettlement areas have met those requirements. Adding to that, resettlement areas are often far from their previous residences, making it harder for them to find jobs. People have complained that their new homes do not have electricity, running water, sewers and other essentials.

How can Ha Noi improve the quality of resettlement houses?

The Government introduced a policy on May 15 that would compensate people whose lands have been revoked. But I'm afraid to say it will take some time to implement the policy.

In the immediate future, though, it is important to get local communities involved in making plans and building housing in new settlement areas. This policy has been implemented successfully in various cities, including Viet Tri, Vinh City, Hai Duong and others in the past five years. — VNS

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