Up to 11 billion VND (524,000 USD) of the Government's 30 trillion VND (1.42 billion USD) loan package to support social housing development has been provided to 56 home buyers, the Ministry of Construction said.

The Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank) received 160 applications for loans under the package while the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam received 100.

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), meanwhile, has announced the signing of loan contracts to two social housing developers to build new or convert existing projects.

They are Vicoland Joint Stock Company, which is developing social housing in central Thua Thien-Hue province, with a loan of 117.7 billion VND (5.6 million USD), and Hoang Quan Real Estate Corporation, which is converting housing in Ho Chi Minh City, with 540 billion VND (25.72 million USD).

Ministry statistics show there are 47 commercial housing projects which have applied to convert to social housing, involving 33,000 apartments and a total investment of 19 trillion VND (905 million USD).

Sixteen commercial projects asking for permission to reduce the size of their apartments will increase the total number of apartments from 4,700 units to 6,600 units.

Thirty social housing and conversion projects have been sent to the State Bank to determine their eligibility for loans. Of them, four were State-owned enterprises and four were joint-stock companies with State holdings. The rest were in the private sector.

The support package aimed to help low-income earners get a home, the ministry said.

Besides the five banks appointed to implement the support package, many other banks offered credit at preferential interest rates to home buyers.

HDBank offered loans at 0 percent interest rate for the first year for those who bought apartments in the Dragon Hill Residence and Suits in Phuoc Kien Commune, HCM City 's Nha Be District. The loan could be up to 70 percent of the apartment value.

Eximbank had a 5 trillion VND (238.095 million USD) loan package with interest rates at 10-12 percent per year over the first two years.

Nam A Bank offered rates of 0-10.9 percent per year for the first three months for loans from 200 million VND (9,300 USD) to 5 billion VND (238,905 USD) before September 30.

Nam A Bank deputy general director Tran Ngoc Tam said, however, that many people hesitated to borrow from banks for home purchases and those who were really in need of social housing did not meet lender requirements.-VNA