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120,000 First-Time Home Buyers Open Accounts

120,000 First-Time Home Buyers Open Accounts120,000 First-Time Home Buyers Open Accounts

More than 120,000 Housing Savings Accounts have been opened since the scheme to assist first-time home buyers was launched last year, announced the head of Bank Maskan's Public Relations Department.

"The total number of Housing Savings Accounts has crossed 120,000 and reached 120,836 by December 15, which amounts to 25.8 trillion rials ($647.7 million)," Masoud Izadi was also quoted as saying by IBENA.

Bank Maskan is the agent bank of the housing sector and the organizer of the scheme.

Launched on June 8 of last year, the scheme aims to provide housing for first-time home buyers and requires applicants to make an initial deposit and wait for a year to become eligible for the loan.

In the last days of August, President Hassan Rouhani announced that mortgage rates pertaining to the scheme have been lowered to single digits.

The scheme's lending rates, which were previously fixed at 11%, have been cut to 8% for homes purchased in distressed urban areas and 9.5% for the non-distressed urban areas.

"Before the lending rates for the Housing Savings Account were lowered to single digits, the number of accounts that were opened monthly was in the single digits," Izadi said. "But with the implementation of cut in rates, the number rose to double digits."

According to the official, Bank Maskan had predicted from the beginning of the scheme that 84,000 accounts would be opened yearly and reckoned that to meet demand, an annual capacity of 100,000 must be provided for.

Izadi said the current progress shows that "this milestone will be reached by the end of this year".

In Tehran and other big and small cities, the amount of such loans has been set at 800, 600 and 400 million rials respectively ($25,600, $19,200 and $12,800). New couples applying for the loan will each be eligible to receive 800 million rials, amounting to a total of 1.6 billion rials ($51,200).

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