Fahmi Chaâbane, president of the UTICA National Real Estate Promoters’ Union, gave AfricanManager an interview in which he spoke about several issues, including the first house program, soaring real estate prices and the difficulties faced by the sector.
What role does the first house program play in economic development?
The “First House” program, recently announced by the Prime Minister as a solution to the problem of housing, is certainly an important project for Tunisians, especially middle-class and people with limited income.
The real estate sector can indeed contribute to the economic development of the country by increasing sales of real estate to foreigners. This is not possible today with the laws in force and the complexity of the administrative procedures.
Real estate prices have been growing steadily since the Revolution. What are the real reasons for this sharp rise?
Yes, we understand the complaints of Tunisians in front of the dizzying rise in prices of real estate. However, it should be noted that these increases are not caused by the real estate developers and have nothing to do with their trade.
This increase could, however, be explained by the scarcity of land, which is also a determining factor in the cost of housing. This is also due to the rising cost of labor and the price of building materials.
The deterioration of the Tunisian dinar in relation to foreign currencies also largely explains the soaring housing prices.
Apart from these difficulties that are often referred to, are there other problems to be raised?
In any case, the real estate sector has been facing several difficulties for several years and today there is a need for new measures and adjustments to the regulations in order to ensure the development of the sector and provide better contribution to the economic development of the country.
In that regard, are there any messages to convey to the government?
The government is called today to review its housing policy with the aim of enabling real estate developers and professionals in the sector to succeed in the social role they have been given in the construction of housing. It is an appeal to the government and to members of House of People’s Representatives (PRA).
I also propose to exempt foreigners wishing to acquire land in Tunisia from the authorization of the governor and to facilitate, inter alia, the administrative procedures which are increasingly complicated and increase the process of purchasing real estate.
It is also recommended to extend the repayment period and reduce the interest rate on self-financing, especially since the Tunisian is unable to provide the necessary financing, mainly because of the deterioration of his purchasing power.
Let the private sector work. Let us bring the currency back to our country.