Affordable housing bill goes to governor for signature
By The Star Staff
Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago announced Thursday that the measure that establishes new caps on the cost of affordable or social interest housing was approved during the last ordinary session and will go to La Fortaleza for the governor’s signature.
“After a process of analysis, exchanges of information and discussions with the secretary of the Housing Department, the Home Builders Association and the Banks Association, we were able to establish a different and effective model to address affordable housing projects,” the Senate president said. “In the first instance, the proposed model of a formula based on a construction cost index was discarded, since it does not include Puerto Rico in the analysis. In the same way, the current model that establishes a complex formula to determine the ceiling of social interest housing was discarded.”
Dalmau Santiago added that the measure addresses the increase in construction costs and the income limits to qualify, and respects that the new caps do not affect the value of properties and the housing market in Puerto Rico.
The new model, he said, is simple and meets the needs of the housing market and, therefore, of the population that needs a home. The new caps are as follows:
1. Homes on rural land in municipalities with lower population density: the maximum cost will be $170,000.
2. Affordable or social interest housing located on urban land that is not an urban center of municipalities with a lower population density: the cost limit will be $175,000.
3. Homes located in the urban center of municipalities with lower population density: the limit will be $180,000.
4. Homes located on urban land in municipalities with a higher population density: the limit will be $190,000.
Dalmau Santiago added that the island Housing Department was forced to manage an urgent review of the income limits determined for the buyer assistance program. In this way, he said, a greater number of families and individuals will be eligible for the buyer assistance program.
“With this effort, more families, including young professionals, will have access to a housing market with help to acquire their main home,” said the Senate leader, adding that “the room for dialogue achieved a fair measure for Puerto Ricans who are looking for a safe and adequate home.”
He said that as law, the legislation will have a major impact on preventing young professionals from leaving the island and making it easier for those who left to return.
At the same time, the effect of rising prices and construction costs is being addressed, so that the homebuilding industry can reactivate and help the island economy, Dalmau Santiago said.
“It also facilitates the movement of banking and mortgage transactions by having more people with access to the buyer assistance program,” he said. “In short, a correct and adequate measure was achieved, without pressure and with the clear goal that it be for the benefit of all.”