Infonavit to Aid Mexico’s Homebuilders With 3 Billion-Peso Fund

Infonavit, Mexico’s state-backed mortgage lender, set up a fund to promote apartment construction, as the country’s biggest publicly traded homebuilders sell assets or restructure debt amid a cash squeeze.

The 3 billion-peso ($246 million) stimulus fund will be used to finance mortgages on so-called vertical housing projects when construction is at least half completed, according to an e-mailed statement from Infonavit. The program also will ease mortgage-underwriting criteria to make more workers eligible and allow the agency to triple its capacity to originate loans, Infonavit said.

Securities of Mexican homebuilders have plunged this year as the government shifted housing policy to promote capital-intensive apartment construction in urban areas over single-family homes in commuter towns. Shares of the country’s biggest builder, Desarrolladora Homex SAB, have plunged 45 percent this year in Mexico City trading, and its bonds due 2020 are fetching about 68 cents on the dollar.

“It definitely will help some companies, but it’s not the solution,” Carlos Hermosillo, an equity analyst with Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB, said in a phone interview.

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