More than 100 social housing units put up for sale

More than 100 social housing units put up for sale
November 26 15:50 2017

The state-owned Housing Development Corporation has announced the sale of more than 100 flats awarded under a previous government’s social housing programme.

Built by a subsidiary of India’s Tata Group in the capital, the flats were put up for sale after its original recipients under the Veshi Fahi Malé programme were unable to secure loans before a deadline of November 12.

The flat winners were previously told to either pay MVR2 million (US$130,000) upfront or obtain home loans with a down payment of at least MVR400,000 (US$25,940), a price out of reach for middle or low-income families.

After months of uncertainty for more than 250 flat winners, the central bank in late August enacted regulations mandating banks and financial institutions to join a new loan scheme and allocate at least 10 percent of income for low-interest housing loans.

However, despite assurances from the authorities, most flat winners were deemed ineligible for loans.

The Housing Development Corporation previously assured ineligible applicants that “the government will make arrangements to secure affordable housing to those parties under a special priority list from the suburb of Hulhumalé.” However, the disqualified applicants would be required to give up their flats, it said at the time.

In an announcement Thursday, the HDC said the Tata flats are priced at MVR2 million and will be sold to eligible bidders on a first come first serve basis. Application forms for the three-bedroom apartments are available from December 4 for a bank guarantee of MVR100,000 (US$6,485).

The bidders must be married and 21 years of age. Neither the bidder nor the spouse must own housing in the Greater Malé region.

Some 75 of the flats will be sold from the Malé Square complex built in the Gaakoshi plot and 30 from the Malé Grand at the old Arabbiyya School compound.

Some 268 flats were previously awarded under the social housing programme. Flat winners were initially told to pay a monthly rent of MVR9,725 (US$690), but the housing ministry in March 2016 raised the amount to MVR33,000 (US$2,140).

Photo of Tata flats from Mihaaru

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