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First-time home buyers swamp GH Bank for zero-interest loans

The Government Housing Bank was swamped yesterday on the launch of the Bt25-billion First Home Loan scheme, with nearly 6,000 eager applicants seeking almost Bt9 billion in zero-interest mortgages.

Worawit Chailimpamontri, president of the GH Bank, said the scheme has proved popular, as many people queued up from as early as 4am at the bank’s Bangkok branches. Provincial branches were also jammed with customers bringing the required documents.

The first day saw 5,875 people applying for an average loan of Bt1.5 million, or a combined Bt8.89 billion, he said.

GH Bank’s head office on Rama IX Road in Bangkok was at the top of the list in number of applicants. Branches in Chiang Mai, Hat Yai and Pattaya and on Srinakarin Road in Bangkok were also crowded with first-time home-buyers.

The head office alone took in loan applications worth Bt709 million.

The scheme offers loans at zero interest for the first two years to buy a first home worth up to Bt3 million.

From the third to fifth year, GH Bank will charge the minimum retail rate minus 0.5 percentage point for members of the Social Security Fund (SSF) and MRR for other retail customers.

Banks are currently quoting the MRR at an average of 6.75 per cent.

From the sixth year, the rate will stay at MRR minus 1 percentage point for SFF members and drop to MRR minus 0.5 percentage point for retail borrowers.

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij said the new government would decide whether to double the scheme to Bt50 billion. Previously, he had promised to increase it to that amount if the Democrat Party was returned to form the next government.

Borrowers will also enjoy a waiver of the 1-per-cent mortgage fee and a cut in the transaction fee to 1 per cent from 2 per cent. The loan term is up to 30 years.

Critics have called the scheme a populist policy aimed at swaying voters before the election.

Prasert Taedullayasatit, chief business officer of Pruksa Real Estate, the largest residential developer by sales, said the company had residential units worth Bt18.4 billion that were waiting for transfer to customers, of which Bt10 billion worth were units priced below Bt3 million.

“This will benefit from the government’s soft-mortgage scheme via the Government Housing Bank,” he said.

The measure would also make Pruksa’s second-quarter sales better than those of the same quarter last year and the previous quarter, he added.

Source: The Nation

ThaiVest Editorial Team