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Bank Maskan (Housing Bank) has started offering Housing Savings Account’s loans well ahead of the scheduled date. The first applicants received their loans on Wednesday although they were supposed to wait at least until June.
Housing Savings Account, launched in June 2015, aims to provide first- time homebuyers with loans at an interest rate of 14%. The scheme requires applicants to make an initial deposit and wait for a year to become eligible for the loan, Maskan’s public relations office reported.
However, according to a recent modification in the scheme, the lender allowed first-time homebuyers to integrate their previous mortgage application with the Housing Savings Account to shorten the waiting period by almost half.
The provision made it possible for two of Maskan’s branches in Fars and Mazandaran provinces to provide loans to applicants after six months.
The mortgage scheme provides applicants from Tehran with loans up to 800 million rials ($26,500) while the ceiling is 600 million rials ($19,930) in towns with a population of more than 200,000 and 400 million rials ($13,290) for buyers in towns with a population of less than 200,000. About 37,000 applicants have so far registered with the Housing Saving Account, according to Maskan’s data.
Maskan has also provided funds for 419,000 housing units since the beginning of the fiscal year (March 21, 2015), both for construction and purchase.
Hamed Mazaherian, deputy minister of roads and urban development, says Maskan could not single-handedly finance the housing market suggesting that the Central Bank of Iran make use of other methods like real estate leasing schemes.
Real estate leasing and secondary mortgages are on the ministry’s agenda to help stimulate the dull housing market, according to the official. “Such plans would help as they help lift homebuyers’ purchasing power.”
He said the builders and leasing companies will soon work together within a framework developed by the CBI, he added without specifying the details of the new framework.
Mazaherian however, acknowledged the need for developing other housing schemes for lower income families in collaboration with welfare organizations.
Mohammad Hashem Botshekan, Bank Maskan’s CEO, said on Saturday that a draft of real estate leasing regulations has been handed to the Money and Credit Council.
“Bank Maskan will be the first bank to offer leasing contracts,” he said.
Maskan’s mortgage schemes have been criticized for not covering a sufficient portion of property price and being expensive, even though the interest rate is said to be the lowest compared to all other loans offered by banks and lending institutions.