City seeks new social housing models

Update: February, 07/2017 - 08:00
HCM City Party Secretary Đinh La Thăng visits workers living in social housing in Bình Dương Province. VNS/VNA Nguyễn Văn Việt
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY —  HCM City Party Secretary Đinh La Thăng has urged local authorities to consider implementing a social housing policy that has helped attract more investors in Bình Dương Province.      

Thăng said that HCM City wanted to provide more housing to lower-income workers, but that implementation had been difficult as investors were often reluctant to pour money into such projects.

Thăng asked Bình Dương Province’s authorities during a recent meeting in the province to help HCM City officials develop a better social housing policy. 

He said that administrative procedures on such buildings, which usually contain apartments of 25-35 square metres, could be as streamlined as those used for commercial housing.   

Trần Thanh Liêm, vice chairman of Bình Dương’s People’s Committee, said that 25 out of 43 social housing projects in the province had been completed and put into use, with a total area of 491,000 sq m and an average price of 4 million (US$177.8) per sq metre.

The Investment and Industrial Development Corporation (Becamex IDC) is the main investor of social housing projects in the province, which has 2 million people, 52 per cent of whom are migrants from other provinces and cities.

Liêm said the province, before providing land to property companies to build social housing, ensured that all people affected by new housing projects received compensation payments.

Around 200 enterprises in the province’s industrial parks have built a total of 270,000 sq m of housing space for their workers.

Liêm said the province had issued regulations, as part of its industrial development plan, that require land be set aside for housing for workers.

The province has also streamlined administrative procedures for investors in social housing.

Nguyễn Văn Hùng, CEO of Becamex IDC, said that regulations for social housing eligibility should be adjusted and that anyone who has job but who has never owned a house should be allowed to buy social housing.

The vice chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, Lê Văn Khoa, said the regulated maximum profit for investors in social housing of only 10 per cent was too low to attract investors.

Hùng said that Becamex IDC was not yet earning profit from its social housing projects in the province, but expected to see profits over the long term.

He said that companies willing to wait for profits over the long term should work with the government to offer accommodation for workers.

Most social housing projects in Bình Dương Province are near urban areas and industrial parks, which attract a large number of workers.

This, in turn, helps attract investors who want to open companies and factories in urban areas and industrial parks built by Becamex IDC, the representative said.

Nat’l housing strategy

The need for low-income housing in the country is emphasised in the government’s National Housing Development Strategy.

Last year, an additional 0.5 million sq metres of social housing in urban areas were built, raising the total area to 3.3 million sq metres.

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc recently instructed several agencies and all local authorities to improve housing availability.

He has asked provincial and city People’s Committees to provide land and simplify administrative procedures to encourage property companies and enterprises with a large number of workers to build social housing, especially for workers at industrial parks.

He said that localities must ensure the quality of social housing, as well as traffic, health care, educational and cultural conditions, near the housing projects.

Phúc has also asked the Ministry of Construction to conduct research on new materials to help reduce prices of social housing.

Regulations require that localities in the country allocate 20 per cent of funds received from investors in new urban zones and commercial buildings (of less than 10 hectares) for social housing projects, Phúc said.  —VNS