Argentina - Housing

Housing in Argentina reflects the Italian and Spanish ethnic backgrounds of the population. Except for marginal rural dwellings and urban shanty towns, concrete, mortar, and brick are favored as the principal construction materials. Wood is generally considered less durable and feared as a fire hazard.

In the late 1960s, the Ministry of Social Welfare initiated a program to eliminate the extensive shantytowns in Buenos Aires and other cities. In 1968, the government provided A $50 billion (in old pesos) to finance the construction of 26,000 dwellings, and private capital totaling A $200 billion (in old pesos) was set aside for an additional 100,000 units. The goal for 1969 was nearly double the previous year's investment, with major attention given to low-cost housing.

Various international agencies, including the IBRD and the IDB, cooperated in providing housing funds, as did the U.S. through AID programs. In the 1980s, however, the national housing program languished due to a fiscal policy of austerity, while sources of credit for would-be home buyers practically vanished. The total number of dwellings in the mid-1990s exceeded nine million. Also as of the mid-1990s, there was a housing deficit of roughly 2.5 million houses in Argentina.

A public credit agency, the National Housing Fund, was established in 1973; the fund is financed by a payroll tax on employers of 5% (as of 1986) on gross earnings.

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