Rouhani Pledges Flagship Homeownership Schemes
Economy, Business And Markets

Rouhani Pledges Flagship Homeownership Schemes

President Rouhani said on Saturday his government is determined to and will settle the issue of providing housing for the low-income strata and resuscitate the economy.
“The government has a variety of schemes to help provide affordable housing for all vulnerable groups,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA. He referred to the Youth Saving Fund as one such scheme which tries to help the youth own their own homes.
Speaking at a meeting of the Central Council of the Housing Foundation of the Islamic Revolution, Rouhani praised the organization for having been relatively successful in refurbishing and rebuilding homes in rural areas and in the distressed urban landscapes. “Providing housing for the poor and needy is indeed a top function of the Housing Foundation.”
The president noted that house ownership is and has always been a top priority for Iranians and said, “Housing like security, health and education is among the people’s most important needs.” In Iranian culture the home has traditionally symbolized both a shelter and a form of investment, he told the meeting.
Recalling that housing construction has as a matter of policy always received huge investments, Rouhani pointed to a significant shift in investment trends in the housing sector since 2010. “The major portion of investment in construction went for building luxury homes and shopping malls” in the past.
Mehr Housing Scheme
Rouhani said in those years inflation was galloping while investment in manufacturing declined due to huge and careless imports as a result of which people moved investments into the property market as a safe haven. “Large amounts were poured into the housing sector and home prices started to jump continually while the people's purchasing power declined. As a result in 2012 and at the beginning of 2013 recession hit the property market and there was a surplus of housing units.”
He reiterated that his administration has strived to curb inflation. He again criticized the former administration for using the scarce resources of the Central Bank of Iran for major and expensive housing projects that were "dangerous and very risky.”  
CBI money was injected into housing projects "which later became the major generator of inflation and then created budget deficits," he lamented.

Rouhani pointed to controlling the money base and safeguarding CBI resources as his government’s crucial instrument for curbing inflation.  He pointed to the controversial Mehr Housing Project by the previous government and said the “Mehr Housing Plan has become a problem for the present government…But we have no option but to deliver and fulfill the past administration’s commitments in this regard.”
For addressing the housing problem a comprehensive and broad vision is needed and not just “building walls in the wilderness”. “Health, education and safety plus all the other amenities should all be taken into consideration" planning and executing large housing projects, he was quoted as saying.
Private Sector Come In
Rouhani regretted that Iran lacks a dynamic private sector in the housing market to help meet growing demand while “in many countries houses are built by the private sector.” He called for research in energy saving plans and the use of modern construction materials to help cut household costs and save energy
“We have to do research in order to provide cheap housing and improve health conditions and reinforce our buildings against natural disasters.”
The president admitted that government money cannot solve all the problems and called for a more effective role for private sector in key sectors.  "The country needs large investments (for sustainable growth) and we should make use of private enterprise and foreign/domestic investment in the different fields, including the construction and housing sector.”

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