Ho Chi Minh City will be able to provide more low income earners with homes as more housing projects will be converted into low income housing.

The Ministry of Construction has recently given permission to the developers of 12 housing projects in the City to convert them into low income housing, according to the Municipal Department of Construction.

The move is aimed at helping developers solve their inventory problem and enabling government workers, low income people, and military personnel to acquire housing.

The Anh Tuan Housing Construction and Trading Ltd Co can now convert its apartment project with 520 units in Nha Be district into one for low income people.

Lan Phuong Co can sell its 1,100 flats in a project in Thu Duc district as low cost housing.

Transport Engineering Construction and Business Investment Company 584 had sought similar treatment for its 1,000 unit project in Binh Chanh district.

Commercial projects have to meet certain requirements to be eligible for the conversion: each apartment must be less than 70 square metres and prices at no more than 15 million VND (715 USD) per square metre.

The Ministry of Construction has issued a circular hoping to prop up the dormant housing market by offering incentives to promote housing for low-income earners.

But developers who have not begun construction will not be allowed to convert.

This is because the city had already approved 25 low cost housing projects, 22 of them set for completion by 2015, meaning around 17,900 flats will be available by then.

Several housing projects to serve resettlement programmes will also be completed by 2015.

The construction department has made it clear that public money will not be used to buy housing, meaning social housing developers will have to directly sign sales and lease agreements with buyers.
The city now has 1,321 housing projects, of which 131 are already complete.

They are worth over 30 trillion VND (1.44 billion USD), and include 14,500 apartments as well as 59,000 square metres of office space.-VNA