Affordable housing is understood as commercial housing priced within the budget of majority of people.

May 21, 2024 | 19:29
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Affordable housing plays an important role in stabilising the community and social security, and brings many economic benefits. Doan Van Binh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association, highlights some of the ways Vietnam can develop affordable housing in the near future.

It also creates jobs and stabilises spending on essential needs. In the context of the thirsty housing market, many countries have applied policies to develop affordable housing, including financial solutions and non-financial solutions.

Affordable housing is understood as commercial housing priced within the budget of majority of people.
Doan Van Binh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association

The United States, according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the US currently lacks 5.5-7.3 million affordable homes.

To solve the supply-demand mismatch, President Biden's administration has adjusted rules so all states and cities can use funds from the American Rescue Plan to create affordable rental housing, targeting people with incomes 65 per cent or less than the average income of their area.

The US is expanding the scope of low-income housing tax credit, focusing initiatives on local planning and rapidly increasing the density of construction of low-income housing, allowing the conversion of old and underutilised commercial space to develop quality affordable housing that integrates with the community.

Canada has a housing affordability index that measures housing-related costs such as mortgage payments and management fees that a household must pay monthly on gross income. The higher the index, the poorer the level of affordability.

A housing accelerator fund was established to encourage localities to innovate policies to accelerate the construction of such housing in return for more financial support. The fund, worth $2.9 billion in USD, is disbursed through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as part of the National Housing Strategy to build 100,000 new affordable homes across the country within three years.

Elsewhere, the Chinese government has decided to expand investment and develop a healthy real estate market with 17 financial and non-financial solutions. One of the solutions is to guide banks to direct the financial flow for affordable housing. The People's Bank of China claims to be consistent with the principle that housing is for residential purposes and not a means of speculation. China will add 6.5 million new low-income rental housing units in 40 major cities by 2025.

Meanwhile, Singapore is the most successful country in Southeast Asia in ensuring housing, with many effective policies to promote a real estate market with a high level of emphasis on people in difficult circumstances.

Singapore has long-established preferential policies on taxes and fees for investors and buyers and renters of affordable housing, encouraging foreign investment. It has established a housing development board, central provident fund, and real estate investment trust to develop housing for all society. This is a fundamental pillar of Singapore's housing policy. This mechanism attracts social investment capital through strengthening public-private cooperation in affordable housing development.

It is necessary for Vietnam to introduce a thoughtful concept and promulgate criteria to determine what affordable housing is. Accordingly, it is possible to set quantitative criteria based on the ratio between housing costs and people's incomes, similar to the method used by UN Habitat and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Regulations on such housing in the legal system must be synchronised, focusing on building policies to encourage the development of affordable housing with full amenities, including awarding bonuses for investors to create affordable housing.

In addition, Vietnam should refer to the experience of countries such as Australia, Canada, the US, and New Zealand to control ceiling prices and rental costs of affordable housing, while developing standards, regulations, and new technologies for the segment.

Other solutions include developing land for affordable housing, allowing increased construction density in high-rise housing projects, and developing preferential policies on taxes and fees for investors, buyers, and renters.

It also needs to establish a housing development board, housing savings fund, and real estate trust fund to be the base for financial support for affordable housing. Other types of investment such as foreign investment and public-private partnerships are needed to encourage development in this area.

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By Bich Ngoc

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