President Viktor Yushchenko has signed a decree to allocate about UAH 4 billion, or 0.5% of GDP, from the country’s budget annually for building affordable housing, President's press office reports.

Yushchenko believes such a sum will enable up to 70,000 middle-classfamilies in Ukraine to buy apartments every year. (The state will pay 30% of the cost of a flat). He also suggests that the money invested by those wishing to buy a flat in their new property not be taxed. “I urge all banking institutions to look for all possible means to cheapen real estate loans,” he said in Poltava on Thursday during a meeting that focused on how to resolve Ukraine’s housing problem.

The President also instructs regional and local authorities to allot land for building affordable housing and insists it is important to liberalize land allotment procedures and make registration of construction permits easier and faster.

He believes state officials with high incomes must not be given flats in such apartment blocks. “It is immoral to use state funds for building homes for the prosecutor, the judge, the deputy,” he said and suggested providing such officials with temporary accommodation or giving them loans to buy a flat.

Yushchenko demands in his decree that Ukraine’s housing policy be “transparent and public” and so suggests that lists of those waiting to buy an apartment and lists of apartment blocks that are being built be published regularly, at least twice a year, in newspapers and be posted online. He also thinks the government should encourage real estate investment and formulate a special housing program.

The President described the housing problem as the “most pressing and global problem whose solutionwill bea universal response to a number of social challenges.” He said Ukraine’s central and local authorities must coordinate their efforts for that and added that he would also meet with mayors to addressthe housing issue.

He then visited the village of Shcherbani to inspect a partially-constructed 330-flat apartment building.


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