THE 28th annual national convention of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (CREBA) slated from October 9 to 12at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Lahug, Cebu City will center on key housing issues contributory to the unabated growth of what is now a 6.57 million housing backlog all over the country, among them the lack of long-term, affordable financing assistance for homebuyers and the imminent imposition of value-added taxes on housing come 2021.
During the 17th Congress, Creba puts its full support to House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the proposed creation of a Comprehensive Home Financing Program (CHFP) that will make all income-earning Filipinos entitled to fixed, low-interest, long-term housing loans. A bill of the same nature, House Bill 3541, has been re-filed in the present Congress by Congresswoman Micaela Violago
Creba National Chairman Charlie Gorayeb said that under the bill, the annual CHFP funding of P270-billion will be sourced through bond investments by the SSS at P25 billion; GSIS at P25 billion; a minimum of P70 billion or all of Pag-IBIG Fund’s investible funds for housing; P100 billion from the unused or residual agri-agra funds of banks; and a P50 billion budget allocation for informal settlers, all with mandatory guaranty cover from the Home Guaranty Corporation.
The CHFP will be designed exclusively for home loan borrowers with no component for development financing. The bill seeks to amend Republic Act 7835 or the Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Finance Act (CISFA) of 1994.
Payable up to 30 years, CHFP loans for socialized housing shall be P1.5 Million and below at 3 percent fixed interest rate, and above P1.5 Million up to P3,199,200 at 4 percent for economic housing, VAT-free.
Meanwhile, CREBA recently appealed to Congress to shield housing purchases from the looming value-added tax imposition saying that millions of overseas Filipinos and low-income earners who have yet to fulfil their dreams of having a home for their families will no longer afford the resulting surge in housing prices.
Republic Act 10693 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, (Train Law), passed in December 2017 recognized the clamor of the housing sector by putting a 3-year extension on the effectivity of VAT-exemption thresholds of up to P1.9 million for lots only and P3.2 million for houses and lots last adjusted in 2011 in view of prevailing economic conditions and latest consumer price index. By January 2021, the cap slides down to as low as P2 million.
Creba National President Noel Toti Cariño said the group fears that the impending imposition of new taxes will result to a massive industry slowdown as housing prices rise beyond affordability levels of the millions of homeless.