Plenty of social housing needed

This year, Minsk will be constructing two commercial apartment houses, to be available for rent

By Alexander Pospelov

The idea has been considered for several years, with Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister, Anatoly Kalinin, finally deciding that the flats should appear by late 2011. “During the first stage, we plan to build 250 flats,” explains Alexander Gorval, the Head of the Architecture and Construction Ministry’s Housing Construction Department. “Those choosing to take part in the build will receive loans at privileged terms, repaying the money via rental payments. Some support mechanisms from the state may also appear for dwellers. In Europe, subsidies are given to low-income families: if you earn less than a certain level, you receive a discount, and if you earn more, you pay the whole price.”

It’s yet to be announced how much this housing will cost but officials agree that the price should be attractive and lower than that usually paid for a rental flat. However, the project must not be loss-making for the state; one month is likely to cost around $200.

It is also yet to be determined who may settle in the first 250 flats. It seems that the housing will be primarily available to civil servants, doctors and teachers, to encourage them to remain in the employ of the state, explains the Chairman of Minsk’s City Executive Committee, Nikolai Ladutko.

In future, when the commercial apartment buildings are all ready, the rental prices should fall. However, to achieve this, there should be plenty of social housing.

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