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Brazil Housing Finance System

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Brazil Housing


The National Housing Bank (Banco Nacional de Habitação--BNH) was established in the 1960s to finance public housing using funds from savings accounts and from the official employment guarantee system, known as the Severance Pay Fund (Fundo de Garantia do Tempo de Serviço--FGTS). Many thousands of basic houses (casas populares ) were built, usually in projects at the edges or outside of cities. Because of the financial constraints of working with a low-income clientele, the federal Housing Finance System (Sistema Financeiro de Habitação--SFH) has been used primarily to provide low-cost mortgages for houses and apartments for the middle class.

Many poor people, without access to financing, find it necessary to build their own houses. The favelas on the hills of Rio de Janeiro are one well-known type. In other parts of Brazil, shantytowns on stilts are built over water (alagados ), or in marshy areas (baixadas ). In 1991 there were 3,221 medium- to large-size favelas (each with more than fifty-one households), which contained 2.9 percent of the country's households. The largest favelas, such as Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro, are home to hundreds of thousands.

Data as of April 1997



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