VERY VIBRANT: DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario describes the housing sector as “very vibrant” amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic during Thursday’s Laging Handa briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office. The housing czar likewise dismissed claims that the housing sector is experiencing a “crisis” amid the pandemic. (DHSUD)

QUEZON CITY – The country’s housing sector continues to thrive despite the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the national economy.

Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario said during Thursday’s Laging Handa briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office that the housing sector remains on track and is performing well amidst the health crisis.

According to Secretary Del Rosario, housing production has been posting an average surge of 15% since 2016. It peaked in 2019 and the Department expected another 15% increase in 2020 but the COVID-19 situation slowed down the production.

“But surprisingly, ngayong 2021, figures show na tumaas na tayo at nataasan na natin ang 2019 for the first semester,” the housing czar said. He stressed that despite the health crisis, the housing sector continues to be active as many Filipinos opt to buy housing units than saving their money in banks.

“So inilalabas nila ang pera nila ngayon at bumibili ng housing units. Very vibrant ang housing sector ngayong 2021 at ginawa po natin ito na matulungan ang housing developers. Nagkaroon tayo ng extensions sa completion ng kanilang trabaho and last year, nagsulong tayo ng mga interventions para makapag-resume sila sa kanilang konstruksyon,” the DHSUD chief added.

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, DHSUD’s key shelter agencies (KSAs), particularly the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, the National Housing Authority, the Social Housing Finance Corp. and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp., implemented a five-month moratorium on loan payments. Secretary Del Rosario also pushed for the resumption of real estate activities with strict compliance to health protocols.

Secretary Del Rosario cited the solid performance of the government’s KSAs during the first six months of 2021, stating that the Department has likewise been boosting partnership with the private sector, particularly in crafting policies and regulations to promote a healthy housing sector. Pag-IBIG Fund, for instance, reported P16.1 billion in earnings from January to June this year –up by 14% compared to 2020 figures.

The housing czar dismissed claims that the housing sector is experiencing a “crisis” amid the pandemic.

“Actually, hindi naman crisis, makikita naman natin na hindi naman talaga yun ang reality on the ground,” Secretary Del Rosario said.

He stressed, however, the need to invest more in the housing industry if only to sustain its vibrancy.

“Housing is capital intensive, kailangan natin ng pondo. We have been saying that we need at least P50 billion a year para makapagpagawa tayo at mai-transfer ang ISFs (informal settler families) to safer grounds,” he explained. (30) — CVC