Egypt’s local banks placed EGP 2 billion pounds ($225 million) in the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) low income mortgage initiative in March 2016, Chairman of the Mortgage Finance Fund (MFF), May Abdel Hamid, told Amwal El-Ghad.

In 2014, CBE launched an initiative worth EGP 10 billion (US$1.4 billion) to stimulate the mortgage sector, and to finance home purchasing for low and average income families. During the year, the National Bank of Egypt, Banque Du Caire, Banque Misr and Housing Development signed agreements with the MFF – worth EGP 8.5 billion- to finance mortgages at an interest rate of 7 to 8 percent.

According to Gamal Negm, CBE Deputy Governor, the signed deals will  regulate standards for mortgage financing, reported Daily News Egypt. The details of the standards are  scheduled for discussion in April.

Early in February, CBE introduced some amendments to the initial mortgage initiative, mainly to reduce the interest rate to 5 percent for those who earn less than EGP 1,400 per month. The down payment was also reduced to EGP 12,000.

Another important amendment is the new segment, “privileged average income,” which targets youth who wish to purchase a home through mortgage financing initiatives. The beneficiary’s monthly income should be no greater than EGP 15,000, with a maximum loan value of EGP 950,000. The rate of return for this segment is expected to be higher, with an annual decreasing yield of 10.5 percent.

According to the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA), mortgage funds rose by 57 percent from EGP 445 million in 2014 to EGP 697 million by the end of 2015.