“We have spent the six-year term in plans”: Víctor Manuel Requejo

The housing sector is, like any industry in the economy, a living entity, that is, it is frequently transformed and continually evolves; However, during this government, all the plans related to the industry have not yet been finalized, which makes social production the one that suffers the most from this uncertainty, according to Víctor Manuel Requejo Hernández, current president of the board of directors of Mexican Real Estate Bank (BIM).

In his offices located in Mexico City, the now 84-year-old banker receives EconoHábitat to talk about his perception of the housing industry, after the impact it had as a result of the current health emergency and criticizes how The current government has taken the issue to end the housing backlog in which more than 33 million people currently find themselves, as they live in overcrowded conditions, lack of sanitary service or inhabit spaces with deficiencies in construction materials.

– How do you currently perceive the housing industry?

The housing sector is, like every sector of the economy, very alive, which means that it is frequently transformed and evolves as the economy, the market, the needs of the people and the criteria of authority change.

A couple of six-year terms ago there was a lot of interest in building cheap housing, to serve the lower income class and a lot of housing was built, but many mistakes were made, but housing was made, sometimes, without rhyme or reason, but the biggest part of what was built was saved and there are millions of people living in these houses.

In the current six-year term, the subsidies were eliminated and when they were eliminated, the workers stopped buying because it was no longer enough, they preferred to wait for the subsidy to come into force again to make use of it, but it did not return, the rules were changed again , the housing development plan took a long time to be published, so we have spent the six-year period in plans and what has suffered is the construction of social housing, which means that the worker cannot buy affordable housing.

Currently, the market is that of cheap housing, let’s say in Mexico City for 3 or 4 million pesos and down in the province of 3, 2 or 1 million pesos. That house is being sold, it is being sold well, I believe that that year we will build new about 220,000 homes more or less, but the country’s needs are not being met, because around 800,000 homes are formed each year in the country.

– What does the government need to develop in terms of housing?

The country still lacks a consistent development plan, where the federation coordinates with the states and with the municipalities, because the housing problem is in the hands of the municipalities, which are the ones that finally authorize the construction and agree to 2,700 municipalities is sometimes very complicated, most do not have development plans, then the problems begin.

Housing is a basic necessity and we need to live under a roof, so we have a market, people have more or fewer resources, unfortunately those with fewer resources do not have them, which is where the biggest problem lies.

– How do you rate the housing sector at the moment?

As a very confused sector because it had had a very buoyant period and people are used to those periods of success and it is very difficult to forget that and they want it to be the same as before, so you have to get used to it, no, the important thing is that the sector adapts to the new times, there is no other choice.

The government is committed to carrying out about 6 million housing shares in this six-year period, and about 70% would be self-produced. What do you think of this model?

That it is a problem of literature, because a worker is not going to leave his job to start building his house … Self-construction is a dream, from my point of view, that they have put into the president to prevent the developer from making money , but it comes out worse, because the materials will cost more.

Mexico needs 500,000 homes a year, at least, if we produce 800,000 families a year, we need 500,000 homes and the other 300,000 live where they can, then self-construction does not solve the problem.

– How has BIM fared during this emergency period?

We have dedicated ourselves to serving medium and small developers, large consultants do not usually knock on the door of BIM, they receive credit from institutions that charge them cheaper, we take expensive money and we cannot lend it cheaper, it is complicated compete with the greats, but we have our audience, there is for everything.

We are dedicating ourselves to medium-sized housing, we continue financing; 60% or 70% of the homes that we finance are worth less than 1 million pesos, homes of more than 4 million pesos we do not finance, so the niche is medium. This year has gone well.

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