Vietnam PM calls for cheaper houses for poor, low income earners

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Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung  said at a recent conference that houses for low income earners need to reduce their prices further to between VND2-4 million (US$96-192) a square meter.

Dung told a Construction Ministry conference that there should be government policies and a stable housing supply  to enable any low income earners to afford to buy a house on installments, news website VnExpress reported.

He said apartments currently are unaffordable to low income earners in urban areas.

Vietnam's first housing project for low income earners went on sale in Hanoi in September 2010. Each house of between 60 and 80 square meters cost nearly VND9 million a square meter.

Many investors have followed with more projects, but most have complained of a lack of funds and low profits.

There are around ten such housing projects in Hanoi, at around VND10 million per square meter. The houses have not sold well as the target customers have said the prices were beyond their low income, officials said at the conference.

Dung said the government will help bring down the prices by putting land taxes into a fund to help the poor buy homes.

Speakers at the conference showed that the housing area per person in Vietnam has doubled over the past decade to nearly 20 square meters in 2011, but some poor families of five to six members are still sharing six square meter houses.

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Construction Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said at the conference that Vietnam has raised more than VND12.65 trillion ($607.6 million) in funds for housing projects for poor people.

The government says that homes for poor people should be around 28-60 square meters in size, and should cost between VND25-60 million.

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