ZAGREB, Oct 5 (Croatia Sun News) – Construction and Physical Planning Minister Predrag Stromar said on Friday he expected more than 4,000 applications for subsidised housing loans to be submitted by today, the last day of the current round of applications for socially subsidised housing construction, and he called for continuing the scheme beyond 2020.
Considering that in the last two years there had been more than 5,300 applications for socially subsidised housing, Stromar said the scheme was very successful and that young people were making full use of it.
He said the next two rounds of application for socially subsidised housing would be held in March and September 2020, that a budget for next year and budget projections for 2021 and 2022 were being drafted, and that budget money for that purpose would be secured.
Stromar called for continuing the scheme beyond 2020.
He said that banks wishing to participate in the scheme in March 2020 would be able to apply at the end of the year or in January 2020.
Asked if he had heard of cases with banks that issue subsidised housing loans appraising the value of the flats bought that way much below their market value, Stromar said that such cases happened but that they concerned the relationship between the banks and their clients who agreed loan terms.
Asked about civil society associations complaining that there was a lack of flats for lease, Stromar said that work on a national housing strategy had been launched and that it would also cover that aspect.
He said that he was in favour of building flats for lease, recalling that the law on the POS scheme had been amended to make it possible for a large portion of such flats to be leased out, notably to people whose professions were in short supply.
“I’m certain that the future of housing in Croatia are also flats for lease,” he said.
HRAST says gov’t scheme misused
The parliamentary HRAST party today warned that the government’s scheme was being misused because sellers of POS flats directly blackmailed recipients of subsidies and raised the price of flats.
“We have been contacted by young families who said that sellers of flats openly offer two prices for one and the same flat – a higher one if the buyer has applied for a subsidised housing loan, of EUR 1,500 per square metre, and a lower price, of EUR 1,300, if the buyer does not have government subsidies,” HRAST leader Ladislav Ilcic warned.
He said that the price of a flat should be the same for all potential buyers and that the seller should not know where the buyer’s money for the flat comes from. However, the seller, who is also a mortgage debtor, must sign a loan agreement and the buyer cannot hide from them the fact that the loan in question is subsidised by the government, he said.
“In this project, which is good in principle, the government has failed to find a model to make the subsidy really go to young families and classic cases of blackmail happen very easily, with the seller of the flat, and not young families, getting the subsidy. When we add to that the increase in the price of real estate and the fact that subsidies are not a permanent measure but are available within a limited period of time, which forces young families to buy real estate hastily, it is a question how much young families actually profit from this scheme,” he said.