Since the revolution, the property prices have soared in Tunisia, with rising commodity prices and the lack of skilled workers. Middle class Tunisians, for their part, are no longer able to make ends meet and no longer able to invest in buying a home so the prices are exorbitant. In against part, efforts must be made in the construction of social housing for the poor.
Like all economic sectors of the country, developers face many problems, including the proliferation of uncontrolled construction. Autopsy.
The Housing Bank (BH) held Saturday, May 16, 2015 at The Residence in Gammarth, a meeting discussion with promoters in the presence of its CEO Ahmed Rjiba and CEO of the habitat within the Ministry of Equipment, Housing and Spatial Planning, Nejib Snoussi, entitled "Bank of the Habitat-estate developers: a lasting partnership" where several topics affecting the sector were discussed.
On this occasion, Mr. Rjiba stressed the important role real estate developers in the bank's strategy that wants to set up a successful partnership. He also highlighted the important role played by the bank since 1974, as the CNEL, with funding of more than 600,000 units, representing 20% of total housing in the country.
Mr. Rjiba announced that organizational measures have been taken to reduce the time of loan application developers to study 15 days at most, while simplifying procedures.
Thanks to the efforts made, the bank remains the leader in the banking sector relating to properties with a market share of 23%, which amounts to 800.686 million dinars (MD).
The CEO promised that the bank would decide to take certain further measures, notably study the loan files of gross instead of net cost holdback and reactivate the agreements with developers to help facilitate procedures to their customers.
Pou its part, the Central Director Planning and Controlling, Kmar Zaouali, presented the figures for the 2014 financial year, which are green. Indeed, BiH reached in 2014 a profit of 50.3 MD and net banking income (NBI) 245.9 ® up 18.7%.
Ms. Zaouali added that the mortgage on the BiH resources account for 42% of total credit to customers. She said also that since the FOPROLOS credit, the bank granted 65,000 credits.
Nejib Snoussi noted that the number of developers has increased from 150 in 1990-2800 now, but that only 30% of them have normal activity. For him, it must review the laws governing the sector. He said that the peak of the housing production was achieved in 2010 with 14,000 units, a figure revised down to 8,000 units in 2014. He stressed that all these units are concentrated in seven governorates: Greater Tunis, Sfax, Sousse and Nabeul. He also said that there is a decline in social housing and had to think of ways to work with proponents precisely to supply the market with higher economic type of housing.
Another point, Mr. Snoussi noted that the census of 2014 revealed that each year, 79,000 homes are built in the country, including 29,000 without authorization or anarchic construction rate of 37%. This proves that the whole system suffers from problems: land issues with a lack of construction-use land, procedural problems relating to permits and housing estates, etc. Thus the buildings have decreased while housing prices have soared and is no longer compatible with the income of poor families and the middle class. Thus, and to find a solution to all these problems, the Ministry will make a national consultation on housing and regional planning on 10 and 11 June next, proposals for different stakeholders to find solutions, did -he assures.
In the debate, various promoters have raised several problems. One of the developers admitted that property prices have increased tremendously and that some Tunisians are unable to acquire housing, but in the end, it is the developer who suffers any pressure. Other issues raised, those of non compliance with management plans and uncontrolled construction, made with impunity. Others referred to the slowness of procedures with a period ranging from six months to a year for delivery of the release and time of six months for the building permit. Others spoke of waiting times for the transfer of sales funds the bank has agreed to fund from individuals. They highlighted the lack of experts which causes excessive expectations to their liking. They also demanded preferential rates that do not exceed 2%. They claimed that the ten RC is subscribed after completion.
An auditor has estimated that advance acquirer was assigned to unavailable accounts vis-à-vis injustice promoters also how to accrue interest. A view shared by several developers, moreover one of them called the legislation, saying it is a misinterpretation.
Some even expressed their ras-le-bol asserting that there is no political will, especially on the construction of social housing with a lack of developable land and no promoter is capable of housing for a cost of 570 dinars per m2, with rising prices of raw materials and the scarcity of skilled labor. "If we can not work here, we will go abroad to African countries," one of them in particular citing the Congo, Ivory Coast and Senegal where there would be significant opportunities according to seize him.
For his part, the president of the National Federation of developers within UTICA, Shaaban Fahmi, has paid tribute to BH that accompanied developers and that allowed them to develop. He said UTICA is committed to defend. Another point, he said that a proceeding has been created within the chamber to pay tribute to the martyrs of the security forces and the army. The three founding members of the chamber of Abdelhamid Al Amiri, Kobbi Khaled Shaaban Maher and pledged to provide 30 units (10 each) across the country to a list chosen by the government among the families of martyrs. This initiative is open to all who want to participate, he said.
For its part, the promoter Abderrazek Ben Mahmoud said that "the promoter is sick" and that he never had a more disastrous situation than it is experiencing today, causing blame the Ministry and regional authorities. He told, in this context, a story that has happened to him. Indeed, he was informed of a seizure to be made on its assets in the amount of 98,000 dinars. In seeking the reason, he knew that the seizure was due to penalties for land not built in Berges du Lac. The catch is that this is the first residence inaugurated by the late Habib Bourguiba in 1987 and that the man of the municipality, not only the ignorant but mandated an expert to verify the information go!
An architect has proposed, for its part, the creation of new towns or urban areas, which can solve the planning problems of the territory. Regarding housing, he proposed that the state contributes with the land and the abolition of taxes.
Ultimately, this is an aging legislation that is no longer up to date and no longer meets the needs of operators, which has been pointed to by the various stakeholders.
In response to these questions, Mr. Snoussi admitted that the whole system has reached its limits and must be revised. He explained that the state was after the revolution by a blank period that left the field open to illegal practices. In addition, the lack of social housing has contributed to increase the use of uncontrolled construction. He noted that the department will eventually help control but it is not part of its prerogatives.
For his part, Mr. Rjiba recalled that BiH would restore its agreement with developers which will allow them to benefit from preferential rates. On release, he said that the bank is aware of the related problems and is currently reviewing the entire procedure for the time of its delivery do not exceed 15 days. He said, too, that during unavailability of banking experts, developers can expedite an independent expert. He reassured the proponents on the fact that the ten-RC will now be taken out after the completion of the work.
Asked about the amounts of loans to developers, he said that the bank, having no liquidity problem, can grant loans that exceed 15 MD for large projects.
On the willingness of some to grow the African market, Mr. Rjiba recalled that the bank is present in Congo and Burkina Faso and has partnerships with several African countries, including Niger, Gabon and Togo and its readiness to assist the African market.
Regarding unavailable accounts and interest, he indicated that it is in accordance with the law and practice in force.
In the end, all stakeholders in the housing sector are agreed on the fact that the laws should be reviewed and that efforts must be made by all to bring down property prices and come to build social housing to a reasonable price to meet the demands of Tunisians.