Solving Housing Woes to Highlight CREBA National Convention

The country’s largest organization of key real estate industry players is intensifying its pursuit of solving the 5.5-million national housing backlog, which reportedly threatens to balloon to 6.5 million by 2030 if supply fails to cope with the consistent rise in demand as a result of population increase and other factors.

This pressing issue, among many others, will be the focus of a grand national convention that will be held by the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (CREBA) in Bacolod City on October 7 to 10  within the  National Housing Month.

This year’s 24th CREBA national convention is also designed to address other housing concerns while fostering fellowship and generating business interactions among its members and partners.

“But topping CREBA’s priorities is its four-decade-long advocacy and vision of a home for every Filipino, which may require the pooling of all the necessary resources, expertise and efforts from all sectors, including the government in terms of physical and policy support infrastructure,” said Noel Carino, CREBA national president.

“The convention will enable us to listen to the novel ideas and possible solutions that government officials and CREBA members and partners from all over the Philippines and abroad can bring to the table.  It will be here (convention) that everyone gets the opportunity to contribute to this national effort,” Cariño said.

Charlie Gorayeb, CREBA national chairman,  said addressing the entire housing backlog would require some missionary zeal to accomplish, making CREBA target an ambitious 500,000 residential units annually for 20 years to catch up and overcome the deficit.

“That number (500,000) is actually more than double the industry’s capacity to supply such that our target entails massive resources and capital, including political will in the form of a strong and comprehensive policy infrastructure support,” Gorayeb said.

Earlier, Gorayeb cited a package of reforms including long-term asset securitization covering both property and receivables, the operation of a secondary market for securitized assets under the administration of a government agency, and access to public funds for socialized and economic housing through a so-called “Centralized Homebuyer Financing Program” involving the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Pag-IBIG and the unused Agri-Agra funds of banks.

The Agri-Agra funds accrue from the mandatory credit allocation of 25 percent of the banks’ total loanable portfolio for lending to the agriculture and fisheries sectors, with at least 10 percent for agrarian reform beneficiaries.

“This scheme of mandatory allocation may also apply to the housing sector, wherein real estate and property firms may be required to allocate a certain percentage of their projects for socialized housing,” Cariño said in referring to the backlog as mostly comprised by the poor.

“This requirement (mandatory allocation) can be incentivized with certain tax concessions by the government while making it possible to rechannel a portion of foreign investments in high-end tourism-related property development to mass housing,” Cariño explained.

Florante  Ofrecio, convention chairman, said all potential measures in addressing the housing backlog would be discussed during the convention at the SMX Bacolod, and then undergo a careful study in consultation with the appropriate industry sectors.


Malaya Business Insight

August 27, 2015