The White House approved for submission to the State Duma a package of bills on the introduction of a simplified procedure for obtaining the status of residents of advanced development territories (TOP) in the Far East for developers who are ready to build affordable housing within them. Such projects for the Far Eastern Quarter program will be selected on a competitive basis, based on the share of housing that developers are willing to transfer to the regions at low prices. The government expects that this will accelerate the pace of construction in the Far East and reduce housing prices. Experts share these expectations, but warn against the emergence of illiquid projects.
At yesterday’s meeting, the government approved a package of bills that create the legal basis for the launch of the Far Eastern Quarter, a program to support integrated development projects. The essence of the innovations, as follows from the speech of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, is the introduction of a simplified procedure for obtaining the status of a ASEZ resident for developers. To clarify, now developers can already become residents of the ASEZ and build housing within such territories – the management company (MC) is obliged to provide the site to the first applicant. The bill introduces an alternative mechanism – the Criminal Code will be able to announce tenders for the right to conclude an agreement on the construction of housing, as well as communal, transport and social infrastructure.
As Aleksey Chekunkov, head of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, explains, the only criterion for the competitive selection “will be the percentage of housing that the developer will hand over to the region at a low price set by the Ministry of Construction, while undertaking to build a block according to a standard that implies maximum comfort for people.” The winner will receive the status of a resident with all preferences (in particular, reduced rates of taxes on income, land and property, insurance premiums). Such housing will be built on sites provided by the management company, according to Alexei Chekunkov, eight priority sites have already been approved in eight Far Eastern regions.
According to the estimates of the Ministry for the Development of the Far East, by 2030 it is planned to build more than 2.5 million square meters of housing under the new mechanism. m of “Far Eastern quarters” – this is comparable to the annual volume of housing commissioning in the Far East. Thus, according to Rosstat, in January-November 2021, 2.4 million sq. m (about 3% of the figure for the whole country). At the same time, as Mikhail Mishustin noted, the demand for housing is “large, including thanks to preferential mortgage programs” – we are talking, in particular, about the so-called Far Eastern mortgage at 2%. Among other effects expected by the authorities from the program is a reduction in housing prices. It should be noted that the cost of construction of one “square” in the Far East is the highest among all federal districts of the Russian Federation – 68.5 thousand rubles. with an average for the country of 47.9 thousand rubles. This, along with unsecured demand, affects housing prices – in the second quarter of 2021, the cost of 1 sq. m of housing in the Far East was 15% higher than the average for Russia.
Alexander Moor, head of the All-Russian Center for National Construction Policy, notes that the introduction of such a mechanism is an additional incentive for developers from other regions to work in the Far East – the state is essentially ready to “play” lots that will provide companies with loading and contracts. “All this is aimed at reducing the cost of construction – it is not so easy to build in the Far East, for example, due to problems with building materials and high prices for them, and the growth of housing projects is an incentive to create additional production of materials,” he says. . Alexander Dolgov, managing partner of Squire Patton Boggs, adds that the preferences under the ASEZ and the obligation of the public side to help with the provision of related infrastructure “for many projects should outweigh the benefits lost from lower prices for part of the housing and increase their attractiveness in the market.” Also, according to Alexander Moor, the growth in construction volumes makes it possible, if not to reduce the price of housing, then at least to restrain its growth. However, Alexander Dolgov warns, “it is necessary to ensure the transparency of the provision of support and avoid the appearance of illiquid projects on the market.”