Argentine gov't tries to address rising cost of housing

    12 de octubre de 2018

    Buenos Aires, Oct 12 (efe-epa).- Argentine President Mauricio Macri announced Friday a plan to limit interest increases in the cost of housing.

    "We know that these measures will provide relief for many families," Macri said in a speech at the Olivos presidential residence in Buenos Aires.

    The president said that these actions seek to provide tranquility and "predictability" to the more than 100,000 families who have obtained home mortgages and to those who rent their homes.

    "The rates will not skyrocket," Macri said, referring to adjustable-rate mortgages, with increases limited based on the level of wages and salaries.

    Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio said during a press conference that, although no widespread mortgage defaults had been reported, there was "much concern."

    "We are also working to protect those who rent and who feel a lack of predictability, as they do not know if they will be able to continue to pay their rents," Macri said.

    Frigerio said that the bill will cap rent increases, based on pay levels and inflation, with renegotiations on these limits to be made every six months.

    The government also announced a series of measures to encourage home construction, including an increase in the maximum amount of government loans to people buying homes or adding to their existing residences.

    The government will also provide incentives to real estate developers and to companies building social housing.

    "In this way, we will strengthen the construction sector, which provides work to nearly 1.5 million people and to thousands of small firms that are linked to the sector," Macri said.