Mera Ghar Mera Pakistan scheme fueled rise
Bank housing and construction finance portfolios have increased 36% in three quarters of the fiscal year 2021 since the launch of the government’s Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar Housing Finance Scheme.
Housing and construction finance was worth Rs148 billion by the end of June 2020. It rose to Rs202 billion by March 2021.
“Such growth in such a period has never been witnessed in Pakistan’s history previously,” the State Bank said.
Financing for the housing and construction sector in Pakistan has almost always been negligible in the credit portfolios of banks when compared with those of other countries.
The State Bank took measures from July 2020 to support financing for housing and construction by giving banksincentives and targets.
As the regulator or watchdog of the banking sector it was able to set mandatory targets. Banks had to ramp up their financing for mortgages to builders and developers. Banks had to increase their housing and construction finance portfolios to at least 5% of their private sector advances by the end of December 2021.
In October 2020, the government introduced the Government Markup Subsidy Scheme, now commonly known as Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar Housing Finance Scheme. This scheme enables banks to provide financing for construction and house buying at low markup rates, targeting the low- to middle-income households.
As of April 20, 2021 banks have received applications for financing of more than Rs52 billion from the general public under this scheme. Of these, the banks approved financing of more than Rs15 billion while the remaining applications are at different stages evaluation and approval.
The SBP says that with the help of the Pakistan Banks Association and banks it is ensuring that the process of applying for housing finance is easy for people.
Commercial banks have designated 50% of their branches, around 7,700, across the country for applications under theMera Pakistan Mera Ghar Housing Finance Scheme. All the remaining branches will also provide basic information about the scheme and refer applicants to the designated branches.