Skeletons of the Housing Crisis

In Baja California, tens of thousands of houses stand abandoned as the casualties of recent crisis.  Of the inventory of empty homes, between 19,000 and 20,000 of the units were financed by Infonavit, the Mexican federal agency that provides housing for maquiladora and other low-income workers.

In a bid to recuperate the housing stock, Infonavit has launched a new program to commercialize the empty housing stock.

“We’re going into this aggressively and will be able to sell houses at more economical prices for the workers,” vowed Alejandro Arregui Ibarra,  Infonavit state delegate for Baja California.

Arregui said his office is working with state and local authorities to make sure all the legal bases are covered before foreclosing on a delinquent property owner and putting a refurbished home back on the market.

“We have a double mandate,” Arregui continued. “It is to deliver credits to workers, and then to diligently administer the housing fund for them. If a worker won’t pay his credit, he will be denying another worker the opportunity of obtaining one.”

Carlos Flores Vazquez, state infrastructure and urban development director for Baja California, said 2,500 abandoned homes had already been foreclosed, rehabilitated and put back on the market by developers.

For Juan Manuel Hernandez Niebla, president of the Business Coordinating Council of Tijuana, the landscape of vacant homes calls out for new housing development strategies and ways of constructing homes.

“In the past  we were talking about new areas, new developments, which at the end of the day,  did not manage sustainability when it came to schools, businesses and even jobs,” Hernandez said. “Transportation was costing people a lot of money and that obliged them to abandon their homes.”

Hernandez urged future housing developments to follow an in-fill approach. “I think Infonavit has to make an important effort to relocate this housing and assign it with the goal of not losing it.”

Source: El Sol de Tijuana, August 16, 2013. Article by Eliud Avalos Matias.

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