Within the framework of its 65th anniversary, the president of Camacol Bogotá – Cundinamarca, Edwin Chiriví, spoke with Portafolio about the challenges that the sector has gone through. Regarding the current situation, the union leader assured that they expect it to improve by the second semester and reach consensus with the District and the Government to prioritize this activity.

What balance does these 65 years leave you?

Camacol Bogotá y Cundinamarca was founded on July 21, 1958, which means that we are celebrating 65 years of a very interesting history of building a city.
When this organization was created, the city had about 1.2 million inhabitants, today there are more than 8 million. In this expansion process, Camacol has accompanied the construction of the city. When it was founded, builders made a little more than 1 million m2, today an average of 3.3 million m2 is built per year.

(Advice on possible price rises and economic slowdown).

What have been those great challenges that you have faced?

The first has been how to maintain a continuous vision of the city in the long term but that allows guaranteeing the supply of housing for all.

The second is to build a formal city, with access to public services, which guarantees the well-being of the inhabitants, and it is still a challenge that we are working on and that is why we need to have a long-term vision of the city and this is done through the POT (Territorial Management Plan).

(Household spending in the country fell 4% in June).

The third is to promote urban renewal at scale. Although Bogotá needs to grow, and it is important to know in which areas of the city it can continue to grow, it is also a city that has to prioritize urban renewal in its public management.

The fourth is regional integration. Bogotá today is a city connected at all its ends, which opens up the possibility of thinking of ourselves as a region. 35% of what we sell goes to the region.

The fifth is how to make it easier for the productive sector to find an adequate institutional framework. Today we are the sector that faces the largest number of procedures. In general, there are 150 procedures that a businessman has to complete and they take up to 13% of the investment (of all the actors), that keeps us from investing.

How has the housing deficit been closed?

We have come forward. The quantitative deficit (housing that is not livable), in this problem we have been able to advance. When Camacol started this type of deficit was close to 30%, today it is 1.4%.

(Housing sales in Colombia fell 62% in June).

Bogotá has the annual formation of 80,000 households of all types, but with fewer and fewer members per household. With this formation we barely produce 50,000, those 30,000 put pressure on the rental market, among others. There we see the great challenge, for this reason our goal is to produce 85,000 homes per year.

How do you see the buying interest?

Let’s look at purchase intent through how much homes search. We do this through the ally that is brand new housing, with which we have realized that in the first six months, as a result of the rate hike, the search level had been lower, but in June this number grew.

For the sixth month of the year we exceeded 11,500 households looking for housing in Bogotá, the same month of the previous year it was close to 10,400, it is the first positive data we have.

(The concern of Colombians about the prices of basic goods is increasing).

Is it a good time to buy?

That rates drop, inflation and households have more savings possibilities added to the good offer available that Bogotá has is a mixture.

In addition, Bogotá has three compensation funds that have the capacity to subsidize 50,000 homes a year, a story that no other city has. That makes us optimistic.

How to provide security so that those interested become buyers?

On the institutional side, government plans from now on must prioritize housing and hopefully with the purpose of beating informality. From the Government consolidate a commitment to public policy as a State policy and that changes in government do not generate an impact.

(Housing sales in Bogotá contracted 57% in the first quarter).

Entrepreneurs need legal security, untimely changes in regulations generate a disincentive to investment. And for buyers, investing in housing is always a safe bet, so go ahead.

The low sales that have been seen, what effect do they have on employment?

It is our great concern. As of May we have 193,000 employed persons under construction in Bogotá, the market has moved by 200,000 in recent years, we still do not see this situation as critical, but if we do not reverse this dynamic, employment could lose 60,000 jobs in Bogotá alone, which will impact employment by nearly 2 percentage points.

Taking care of the initiations so that our employment does not deteriorate, that is the joint goal between the District and Camacol.

Portfolio Journalist