Fernando Abusaid
Former President
National Chamber of the Development and Promotion of Housing (CANADEVI)
/
View from the Top

Safeguarding the Right to a Home

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 12:10

Q: How has CANADEVI consolidated its position in the market and what are its main achievements?

A: CANADEVI has been a strong representative of the Mexican housing market and it has supported the national affiliates throughout the transition to a new housing model. The success of the sector and the industry can be attributed to the fact that it satisfies the primordial need of homeownership. As a sector we represent a value chain that starts when housing developers buy a piece of land and continues onto the economic revenue for states and municipalities through permits, licenses, land value payments and notifications. The biggest privilege lies with the last link of the value chain, which is the buyer. The purchase of a house is one of the most important decisions a person makes in

his or her lifetime. Homeownership places an individual on a different economic and social platform and this is why we must show great sensitivity toward the needs of the people and ensure they are satisfied with our endeavors. When referring to social housing, article 23 of the Mexican Constitution guarantees that all Mexicans with formal employment may have access to a home with government support. However, we have emerged from an exhausted and numerical model that prevailed between the years 2000 to 2012 and that focused on goals without considering urban mobility, amenities or growth of cities. With the new administration, we reinvented ourselves by making adjustments and mapping urban containment strategies together with the Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (SEDATU).

Q: In what ways have the changes in public policy impacted housing development?

A: Since February 11, 2013, when the new National Housing Policy was announced, the one-bedroom social housing developments no longer exist. FONHAPO, the institution responsible for financing the construction of houses for those in extreme poverty, previously used the Pie de Casa concept, which entailed developments characterized by rooms with laminated roofs that lack urbanization and basic services. This has now been replaced with two bedroom houses with a minimal space of 45-50m2, and high-quality materials. The new National Housing Policy model has been extremely successful. It provides more than 5.3 million jobs and contributes 6 percent of GDP.

Q: How does the emerging trend toward vertical development affect homeownership?

A: When dealing with a new public policy it is important that all parties involved negotiate to find the best possible business model. This happened with vertical developments. In fact, when I first entered CANADEVI, the supply of vertical housing was 8 percent but according to the Housing Registry (RUV), it is now between 37-40 percent. Interest in vertical housing depends on geographical location. For  example, in Tabasco where there are continuous floods, people prefer to live above the ground floor. Within the polygons of urban contention, redensification in the interior of cities is related to the provision of basic services, location and distance. Verticality is occurring due to the incentives and support to make cities grow.

Q: What new credit options and specific programs are available for the population with limited resources?

A: Through FONHAPO we have been able to mold new credit options, which at the same time have contributed to combating irregular settlements. Today, FONHAPO coordinates the production of close to 25,000 units per year that provide housing to lower income families. For formal nonaffiliates, through the Ministry of Finance’s Crezcamos Juntos program, a membership is available through six bimonthly contributions to the National Housing Fund Institute for Workers (INFONAVIT). There are many programs for people to gain access to housing support. The credit programs depend on the region. For example, I would like to think that in the south of Veracruz, where the main source of employment is PEMEX, the credits from this government institution are far more competitive than what INFONAVIT can offer. In Chiapas, there is a greater need for rural housing so there are agencies focused on these segments.