Vol. 4 No.1  

Home front

Real estate developments may be booming, but the market in affordable housing has yet to explode, finds Corina Ilie
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Homes for low income citizens and the underprivileged in Romania are available, but the system is suffering from local councils who refuse to build or grant land for affordable housing, particularly in Bucharest.
The Government is now constructing 2,000 social housing units in the country, but this is not a popular move with the capital’s leaders.
“In Bucharest the situation is more complicated,” the Minister of Development, Public Works and Housing, Laszlo Borbely, tells The Diplomat. “Very few sector mayors are willing to cooperate and allocate plots of land for social housing.”
Bucharest Mayor Adriean Videanu has been blatant in his demands to ban social housing in his city, despite the rising costs of rent and sale. While the capital’s growth demands workers across every sector, the City Hall has no programme for promoting affordable housing. Instead it only has plans for people evicted from buildings which are condemned or expropriated.
“I do not want to turn Bucharest into a social city,” Videanu has said. “I want to increase living standards. I will permanently oppose the idea of building social houses in Bucharest.”
Many local authorities are also unwilling to give up land for social housing because the price on the free market they can gain for the plots is higher than the cash available from the Government to exploit the area.

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