The PCH works with banks to offer attractively low interest rates to those who qualify. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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The vast majority of the PCH's loans – 88 percent – go to homebuyers, Lahoud said. But the PCH also subsidizes loans for building new houses and for renovating or adding onto an existing home.For a $200,000 apartment – a price often hard to find in Beirut – that's a $20,000 payment up front, hardly possible for most low-income Lebanese.Then there are the payments: $1,000 a month for the first 15 years, according to one plan. According to a 2014 study by Abdallah Nassereddine, an economist at the Beirut Arab University, housing affordability plummeted between 2004 and 2010 .According to one measure of household income, the average Lebanese family made just under 1.6 times what they needed to qualify for a PCH loan in 2010, down from double the qualifying income in 2004 .According to a less generous measure of income, the average family made about a third of what they needed to qualify for a PCH loan in 2007 .The average family would have to save for two to eight years just to afford the down payment on a PCH loan, Nassereddine's research suggests. Lahoud is also working on a loan program for Lebanese living abroad.
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