SENATOR Sonny Angara yesterday said the government housing agencies have done a lot to comply with the rules of doing business but much more has to be done to address the backlog in the construction of socialized housing.
Building a house is a slog through 27 offices, 78 permits, 156 signatures, 373 documents that could last for months, said Angara, adding that the red tape is slowing down housing production.
Angara, citing as source a briefer submitted by government housing officials, said for socialized or affordable mass housing the pre-construction processing time could last up to 74 months, if it involves land conversion, titling and financing.
Angara said “documentary hurdles” are discouraging families from building their first home.
“Before you pour your first pail of cement, you have to follow a long paper trail. And many families do not have the energy for that, “ Angara said.
He added that even professional homebuilders and real estate companies have been complaining about the “a long checklist of requirements that must be met before, during and after the construction of whether a single-unit or a high-rise.”
Angara said government housing officials have reported to him that it normally takes the National Housing Authority 12 to 30 months to get a green light for construction.
For the Social Housing Finance Corporation, the pre-construction processing time for its Community Mortgage Program projects is between 16 to 74 months.
Private developers, on the other hand, spend 12 to 51 months to acquire all pre-building permits.
“The list can be shortened and the timetable sped up without sacrificing safety and without short-circuiting building rules.
“If we will not cut red tape, the national housing backlog will worsen and it will turn into a national housing crisis,” Angara said.
Based on future demand and current pace of production, the backlog in housing units is forecast to hit 6.6 million by 2022, from 5.5 million in 2016.
“But we can ramp up production by improving the regulatory environment,” Angara said.
“When there is ease in doing business, financing comes in, and with volume comes affordability.”
Angara said the mandate of several anti-red tape laws should be applied to housing “not just in national government agencies but also in local governments.