Government to build cheap housing in Bangkok

Construction News

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon will head a 100-billion baht programme to build 100,000 low-priced housing units for low-income families. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)

The government will earmark almost 100 billion baht to build more than 100,000 low-priced housing units for low-income families in the next three years.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said Monday the government wants low-income earners to be able to afford their own homes, and the project would give them the chance to do so.

The first project under the scheme will be developed in Bangkok’s Din Daeng district in the middle of next year, with similar projects in other provinces later, he added.

The housing scheme was discussed during a meeting chaired by Gen Prawit at Government House. The meeting concerned construction and finances.

The meeting was also attended by officials of several state agencies including the Interior Ministry, the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

Gen Prawit has ordered four sub-panels to be set up to handle the projects, Social Development and Human Security Minister Adul Saengsingkaew said.

The sub-committees will deal with land and legal issues, finances, as well as administrative matters related to construction.

The Interior Ministry will oversee land management and administration while the Human Security Ministry will work on project management.

The Finance Ministry, meanwhile, takes care of the finances and the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry provides other necessary assistance, Pol Gen Adul said.

The scheme is part of a wider low-income housing policy the government aims to implement until 2025. But for the next three years, the budget for the scheme has been earmarked at 96 billion baht, which will be enough to build 515,268 housing units.

The government has set a target to construct a total of 2.7 million housing units in the next 10 years, Pol Gen Adul said, adding junior state officials will also have access to the scheme.

Speaking after the meeting, Chanvit Amatamatucharti, deputy secretary-general of the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had placed emphasis on construction of housing estates for low-income earners.

Gen Prayut wants people to have houses at affordable cost, he added.

The meeting also approved a revised budget for the housing scheme which has increased from 82 billion baht to about 96 billion baht, the source said.

The budget is due to be forwarded to the cabinet for consideration soon.

Of the 96 billion baht, 50.35 billion baht will come from the central budget while the rest will mostly come from loans.

Meanwhile, Lersuk Chuladesa, executive vice-chairman and president of SET-listed developer Pruksa Real Estate Plc, said he agreed with the housing scheme but warned it might repeat the failure of the Baan Eua-Arthon project.

He said most of the land offered for the project by the Treasury Department is far from public transportation networks, similar to Baan Eua-Arthon, which failed to attract the targeted home buyers.

“If the National Housing Authority is going to develop projects to support low-income people, they have to think about the transportation costs [for the people] as well,” he said, suggesting the government consider two options, which is either to change the locations or provide public transportation.

Also, the marketing campaign has to be improved to ensure the project’s success, he said.

“More parties, most importantly financial institutions, should get involved as household debt is now at a high level and it is difficult for the institutions to agree to take risks by giving mortgages to home buyers,” Mr Lersuk said.