Large residential areas needed to meet increasing demand: Expert
Large-scale residential zones need to be developed in the suburban parts of HCMC and across its neighbors to meet the growing demand for housing, given the high population density in the southern metropolis, according to an expert at a workshop here today, September 17.
The event was aimed at seeking housing solutions to serve the predicted population growth of one million people every five years for the 2021-2035 period in the country’s busiest city.
The municipal chairman, Nguyen Thanh Phong, said in his opening speech that the city is facing a serious challenge from the large population. He cited data as indicating that the city has a fixed population of some nine million people, but more than 13 million are living, studying and working here.
“The population is large, but its distribution is uneven. The average population density of the city is 14.7 times higher than that of the country, and it is mainly concentrated in the central districts,” he stated.
He noted that the fast population growth, with an annual increase of 200,000 people, has led to considerable pressure on urban management, which has set higher requirements for technical and social infrastructure, especially for housing.
Citing statistics from the HCMC Department of Construction, Chairman of the HCMC Real Estate Association (HoREA) Le Hoang Chau remarked that more than 476,000 households do not own their homes or are living with relatives, accounting for a quarter of all households.
Low-income earners find it difficult to secure houses since there are shortages of small- and medium-d commercial houses, social housing and apartments for lease at low prices, according to Chau.
He pointed out that housing prices are 20 to 25 times higher than the residents’ average annual income, while the difference in developed countries is five to seven times only.
He claimed that except for a social housing loan package worth VND30 trillion for the 2013-2016 period, the Government has not issued a credit policy enabling low and medium earners to purchase houses.
In HCMC, the authority has helped local State employees who wish to take housing loans of up to VND900 million (some US$38,000) each, with an annual interest rate of 4.7%, repayable in 15 years. So far, some VND1.5 trillion (US$64.5 million) has been disbursed.
Chau stressed that this policy should be made accessible to all low earners, not just State workers, so that more people can buy homes.
The HoREA chairman also suggested the city develop affordable housing projects in satellite towns that provide adequate services and utilities and have public transport systems, such as metro lines, monorails and buses.
In these metropolitan areas, it is necessary to build affordable social housing for middle earners and high-class commercial apartments for high earners, he added.
He also proposed the development of large-scale residential zones, with each project covering more than 50 hectares, in the suburban part of the city.
It is essential to develop similar residential areas in the city’s adjacent provinces, such as Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Long An.
He explained that once these satellite towns are established, they will help redistribute the population and reduce the number of migrants to the city.