The southern province of Dong Nai is mobilising all resources for the construction of social houses for low-income earners as the demand is forecast to highly increase in the years to come.

According to Nguyen Thanh Lam, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Construction, the social housing demand is estimated to be 63 million sq.m. by 2015 and 80 million sq.m by 2020.

At present, the province has 91 social housing projects, including five invested or bought back by the State and the remaining by other economic sectors. Of the total, only 23 projects have been completed, while a number had to suspend construction due to capital shortage.

Lam blamed the slow progress for the gloomy real estate market as a result of the economic recession, adding that businesses involved in social housing faced difficulties in accessing preferential loans.

No enterprises have so far accessed the Government’s 30 trillion VND package designed to stimulate demand and supply of social housing, as they failed to meet its criteria, he said.

The State Bank of Vietnam’s Dong Nai branch reported that by the end of March, only 25 billion VND of the package had been lent to40 individual borrowers.

Tran Quoc Tuan, Director of the branch, said the current price for social housing in Dong Nai, at nearly 15 million VND per sq.m, is too high for low-income earners.

Poor workers don’t need big apartments with lots of conveniences, so we should build small ones to suit their need, he said, adding that a worker couple can save only 2 million VND each month, so policy makers and investors should consider suitable housing pricing at a level acceptable for them.

He suggested easing conditions for access to preferential loans for small investors.

According to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Vo Van Chanh, more than 450,000 workers are working for foreign-invested enterprises in the province and most of them are low-income migrants who are in urgent need of housing.

The local authorities have urged the Department of Construction to review all social housing projects, he said, noting that if any project is found infeasible, the province will resolutely withdraw land to allocate to other investors.

In addition, Dong Nai will encourage businesses in different economic sectors to engage in building social houses, especially those for workers and low-income earners in urban areas, while taking advantage of all capital resources from the State budget, banks, official development assistance (ODA) and government bonds, he added.-VNA