One’s long way home may become considerably shorter

Over the coming three years, the share of self-contained housing may reach 40 percent in Belarus, with various designs planned, varying in floor space and price, for those seeking a house of their own
By Alexander Svetlov

One Grodno suburb’s housing development differs from others nearby in having cottages built within a couple of days. Constructed by Grodnozhilstroy JSC, using its own materials, each 115sq.m cottage is priced at just over $500 equivalent per square metre, including basic interior finishing.

“Grodnozhilstroy has built 31 cottages in this district, using four designs. Construction on the land bought by the company began in 2008; the initial stage of houses was completed within two years but there are plans to continue,” explains Grodnozhilstroy’s Design Director, Cheslav Malets.

It’s impossible not to compare a flat in a large building with a cottage — even if it is small. The lure of having your own modest plot of land is certainly great and there’s no doubt that the idea appeals to many Belarusians. “We plan to significantly increase the volume of individual housing construction over the coming three years, with its share expected to reach 40 percent of total housing. This is part of a draft housing policy being studied by the President,” noted Belarus’ Prime Minister, Mikhail Myasnikovich, speaking recently at a seminar in Grodno devoted to housing construction. “There’s a great deal of waste land on which comfortable accommodation could be built. Already, land plots have been outlined for each region and district — to satisfy the needs of those wishing to build their own homes,” added the PM.

It’s no secret that builders of individual accommodation face problems in developing land lots. Anyone can see that new residential districts are being developed ‘unevenly’, with many people experiencing serious difficulties with infrastructure. With this in mind, one of the goals of the Grodno seminar was to elaborate reasonable schemes to significantly cut commissioning periods for housing. In particular, it was proposed that capital construction management organisations or those authorised by city executive committees should develop a project and the necessary design-estimate documentation (including land-related) for further registration of individual houses and their transfer to citizens in need.

“We’ve found a scheme which would enable us to house various categories of citizens, including providing the relevant infrastructure. Those on state support — such as families with many children — would receive a plot free of charge, for their life term, while others would be able to buy plots independently, at market prices. This should settle the matter quicvckly,” Mr. Myasnikovich explained. By the way, floor space for the cottages varies from 70 to 220 square metres and the price ranges from Br5-11m per square metre.
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