ISLAMABAD: Pakistan house financing is less than half a per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) which is one of the lowest in the world.

“We currently have a shortfall of 9 million housing units. Each year there is need for 600,000 units, but only 300,000 units are constructed,” said Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Saeed Ahmad, on Thursday at a two-day international conference on “Affordable Housing and Mortgage Finance”, organised by the SBP.

Expert speakers on housing finance from within the country and the world are participating in the event.

Ahmad stressed the need for bringing innovation in the existing system and increasing the outreach of housing finance to low and middle income groups.

Federal Minister for Housing and Works Akram Khan Durrani, who chaired the inaugural session, called for provision of affordable housing and mortgage finance to cope with rapid urbanisation.

In his policy address, SBP Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra shared the central bank’s policy framework for enhancing the flow of financial services to middle and low income groups.

“In the absence of a sound and vibrant housing finance system, we can expect the situation to further deteriorate,” he said.

The lack of effective institutional framework, secondary mortgage market, high transaction costs, unorganised real estate sector, inadequate property development framework and long-term funding arrangements are some of the major constraints in the growth of housing finance in the country, he said.

Earlier, a message of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also read out.

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