Sunday, 2 March 2014

Housing in Venezuela and the current crisis

Most people outside Venezuela don't really know how badly the housing situation in Venezuela is. In Venezuela, on the other hand, everybody knows the situation is very bad but most don't even imagine how poorly Venezuela compares to most of the American continent. If they knew, they would be much angrier.

An average school teacher in Venezuela of today earns around 5,556 Bolivares.  The government always  tries to use the most favourable official exchange rate it has to express that in its propaganda. If we were use that rate, that teacher would earn around 655 euros a month. In reality, most things cannot be calculated using that rate. We could try to see how to use other rates, but that is a gruesome and unreliable exercise. 

Instead, we should better consider the purchasing power as how much of your salary is needed to get some basic things, like housing. 
Too few, too slow, too badly

If you wanted to have a flat of 49 m2 - not precisely your favourite penthouse - in Valencia, the third largest city of Venezuela, you would have to pay about 16,000 Bolívares. That is: the whole salary of a normal school teacher is just a third of what needs just to live in a small flat in Venezuela.

Cops earn less. Most people earn less.

In spite of all the talking Chavismo has built less social houses than the previous governments, which had less petrodollars for that. A

According to the promises Chávez made in 2011, the State and the private sector would build in 2013 380,000 housing units. Instead, it managed to build 164300. That's a way below expectation. And now the government is really running out of  money.

Most of the housing units built now have been constructed without any proper permit and without any provision about new schools, hospitals, green areas around.

And this is one of the many reasons why people are going to the streets now. This is a huge huge time bomb, even if most Venezuelans don't know a teacher in maligned Spain or the US or even Chile can actually afford to rent a flat and even buy food with his salary!


  1. Well, that is interesting. I didn't know that but it makes perfekt sense.
    A reason that the government wasn't able to build more flats was probably that they pretty much bullied private construction companies out of business (as happened with the employer of my boyfriend's aunt). Corruption makes this dire situation even worse.

    1. Those are two of the main reasons but there are several other derived from the general mismanagement of the economy. Still, here I wanted to mention the housing issue mostly because of the repercussions it has on people's lives. Just imagine: a couple of school teachers can't afford to rent a 49 m2 flat! Teachers could afford this kind of thing a couple of decades earlier. Life was not easy but it was better than this when it comes to the housing market. Of course, the government will only talk about how greedy house owners are. It refuses to recognise the implications of supply and demand, period. This is mental: even communists have to recognise that in a system that is not communist they have to mind those little concepts.


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