| MEXICO CITY, July 15
MEXICO CITY, July 15 Mexico's largest state
mortgage lender Infonavit in August will raise the maximum
amount it can lend to would-be home buyers by 76 percent, in a
bid to shore up the battered housing sector, the government said
Infonavit said it will raise its top loan amount to 850,000
pesos ($65,700) from 483,000 pesos ($37,300).
The state lender next month will also start granting loans
denominated in pesos at a fixed rate and for up to 30 years.
Currently, loans in pesos are reserved for borrowers who
earn more than 5.5 times the minimum wage, while loans for lower
earners are denominated in multiples of the minimum wage.
"We are not just giving out more loans. This is about
guaranteeing access to decent housing for all Mexican families,"
Infonavit Chief Executive Officer Alejandro Murat said at an
event in Mexico City.
The agency, which is funded through employer contributions,
loan recovery and debt issuance, this year expects to grant
560,000 loans for new and used homes, as well as remodeling.
But loans granted by Infonavit for new homes in the January
to May period are down 22 percent due to a weak economy and
Mexicans' preference for acquiring used properties or revamping
their current homes, hammering the country's homebuilders.
Mexican homebuilders have struggled with heavy debt and
slumping home sales since the government shifted to a policy
that prioritizes apartment purchases, hurting sales of cheap
houses built far from cities by Geo, Homex, and Urbi.
Geo and Homex have both filed for
($1 = 12.9472 Mexican Pesos)
(Writing by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)