Housing czar helps property sector bounce back

The government is doing what it can to help cushion the housing industry from project delays caused by COVID-19-related disruptions.

Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario said the agency is taking measures to boost the property sector and sustain the ongoing economic rebound.

Del Rosario has signed Department Order 2021-009 providing for an additional year in the completion period of all projects duly registered and licensed with the agency and the defunct Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

Aside from this, Del Rosario is also batting for an economic housing price ceiling of P2.5 million from the current P1.7 million.

“Just last month, I forwarded a joint resolution to the Secretary (Karl Kendrick Chua) of NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) increasing the price ceiling for economic housing from P1.7 million to P2.6 million,” Del Rosario said at the recent Property & Real Estate Excellence Awards where he was the guest of honor and keynote speaker.

Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Secretary Eduardo del Rosario at the FIABCI-Phil Excellence Awards night, December 9, at Okada Manila.

Preceding the excellence awards was an international economic forum that indicated an ongoing industry, market and economic rebound across various sectors despite the covid pandemic.

Del Rosario said the proposed price ceiling would keep the equity shared by the borrower at only five percent instead of the 10 percent imposed on those exceeding the current P1.7 million cap required for Pag-IBIG members.

Thus, the proposed ceiling serves as a relief to both borrowers and property developers who face increasing cost of construction materials, partly due to manufacturing and logistical disruptions caused by the pandemic.

“We created the technical working group (for this purpose). I hope NEDA will agree. And if ever the technical working group will be done with the work within the month, it becomes effective by the first quarter of next year, or if they can complete it in one or two weeks, it will be approved by me and the Secretary of NEDA within this December,” Del Rosario said.

He also signed a department order allowing a six-month extension for the one-year temporary license to sell.

“The temporary license to sell is good for one year but if you have some problems getting the permits and the licenses from other local and national government agencies, it can be extended by another six months. A performance bond is required to ensure that homebuyers will be protected if ever the project will not be completed within one year, or one year and six months’ time,” Del Rosario said.

He said the new policies would help ensure that both the public and private sectors will achieve the common objective of providing quality, decent, affordable, and sustainable housing units and communities to every Filipino family.

Both the awards and the forum were organized by the Philippine chapter of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI-Ph).

Del Rosario also joined FIABCI-Ph president Dr. Reghis M. Romero II, chairman Nestor Mangio, chairman emeritus Florentino Dulalia Jr. and vice president Eduardo Ong in handing over the trophies to the excellence awardees.