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Planned Affordable Housing Development Will Have Fewer Homes at a Higher Cost


Plaza pública

By Jesús Aguado

An affordable housing subdivision that the municipal government has been trying to build for the last two years is now facing a setback. Federal belt-tightening policies have cut planned price subsidies for the homes, likely cutting out 2,000 potential Sanmiguelense buyers because the homes will be too expensive.

However, government officials remain optimistic that they can turn over the first group of homes to buyers by May 2020.

“We hope that building will begin next month,” Alberto Cervantes, director of the Instituto Municipal de la Vivienda (Municipal Institute of Housing), known as IMUVI, said. “We want it to begin already. The first phase will have 1,198 houses.”

IMUVI is processing the applications to buy homes at the subdivision, formerly known as Lomas de San Miguel and recently rechristened by Mayor Luis Alberto Villarreal as Ciudades UNESCO.

The subdivision has obtained all its permits to build. However, due to cuts in planned federal subsidies to potential buyers and to the municipality itself, the homes will now have a base-cost increase of 74,800 pesos per buyer, according to municipal officials. An additional federal subsidy that would have gone to qualified buyers to help with the purchase has effectively raised the price of each home by another 78,000 pesos, according to Cervantes, who told Atención that the houses, with the withdrawal of the federal subsidy, will now cost a total of approximately 420,000 pesos each.

The subdivision will be located on Carretera San Miguel de Allende-Los Rodríguez at Km. 5.9. The project, announced in May of 2018, was to deliver the first houses in January 2019; however, to date, building has not even started. Buyers will be allowed to take up to 10 years to pay off their home, with credit preapproval by federal, state, and private institutions.

IMUVI data states that 8,750 Sanmiguelenses applied to buy homes in Ciudades UNESCO. However, only 3,068, almost 2,000 fewer than originally planned, will qualify for a mortgage through a bank or through the Instituto Nacional de Fomento de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores (National Institute for the Promotion of Housing for Workers), known as INFONAVIT.

According to Cervantes, IMUVI is currently evaluating the applications. Those who qualify will be informed of the cuts in subsidies and asked if they want to continue with their application.

“If someone wishes to start the process, they can come in to the office and get more information,” he said.

A name change

The current municipal administration changed the name of the affordable subdivision to Ciudades UNESCO when it realized that a Lomas de San Miguel already existed. With the new name, municipal authorities plan to christen the streets after locations on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list.

This list, which includes the Historic Center of San Miguel and the Chapel at Atotonilco, is a list of natural and man-made locations around the world selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee as having important cultural value to humankind worth preserving.

When the municipal government announced the project, it touted the homes as affordable housing for “business owners, taxi drivers, guards, cashiers, chauffeurs, farmers, construction workers, waiters, or government employees.” Applicants are required to earn 2.5 times the Unidad de Medida y Actualización (Unit of Measurement and Revision), known to Mexicans as the UMA.

According to the website of the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (National Institute of Statistics and Geography), known as INEGI, the current 2019 UMA is 84.9 pesos per day. Thus, applicants must earn at least 212.25 pesos per day, or 6,367.50 pesos per month.

A “city” unto itself

Ciudades UNESCO will have commercial centers, green spaces, recreation and religious centers, and schools. There will be single-family homes, duplexes, and triplexes. At a previous public presentation about the project, government officials referred to the subdivision as being in a “very convenient location,” referring to the fact that it is situated near local, state, and federal government offices. In addition, there is a public, and two private universities in the area, as well as Parque Bicentenario, the General Hospital, and an industrial park.

The subdivision will encompass 50 hectares in the Lázaro Cárdenas section. The state government plans to help the municipality widen the road between the Glorieta Patrimonio and the development site from two to four lanes in order to accommodate the influx of people. The site will have its own schools, from preschool to high school, and will have a Centro de Atención Integral y Servicios Esenciales de Salud (Center for Comprehensive Care and Essential Health Services). It will have a gated and guarded entrance, a commercial center, a church, and recreation centers.

SAPASMA has already dug a well and made water available at the site, and plans to dig another well. There are also plans to connect the subdivision to the Sistema de Agua (Water System) and offer sewage processing via a new water treatment plant. Officials noted as well that the development has a slope to accommodate water runoff.


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