The audit of the social housing programme in HCM City and Da Nang City showed that 16.7% of the audited social housing apartments in the southern city were being used for unauthorised purposes or by illegal beneficiaries. In the central city, 35.5% of the social housing apartments have been similarly affected.
The findings are alarming as the supply of social housing apartments is far below demand, even as the existing ones are being rampantly misused.
The state audit also found that the efforts of local authorities in developing social housing projects were inadequate, with social housing development by 2015 meeting just a modest 22% and 43% of the targets in HCM City and Da Nang City, respectively.
In addition, the two local authorities have not paid enough attention to designating land for social housing development. HCM City has not allotted land for social housing development in the plans for urban areas and industrial zones, the audit said.
There are also unreasonable expenses in social housing project development, making these apartments unaffordable to low-income earners.
For example, the audit said the prices of two social housing projects, audited in Da Nang City, should be 10 to 17% lower than they were.
The audit said unclear regulations regarding the eligibility of buyers of social housing apartments and in fixing prices were problems in social housing development.
According to the construction ministry, Vietnam needs about one million social housing apartments by 2020, while the supply currently is a mere 10,000 units per year.
How the national social housing development programme can benefit low-income earners properly rather than being a mere concept, remains a headache for Vietnam.
Vtv.vn recently reported it was not difficult to find advertisements about the sale of social housing apartments on several property websites, while several low-income earners, who were really in need of houses, struggled to buy one.
Under current regulations, social housing apartments can be transferred after a minimum five years after payment.