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Using Technology to Educate Homebuyers in Palestine

Published 06/04/2013 by Global Communities

Using Technology to Educate Homebuyers in Palestine: 

Twelve electronic affordability calculator kiosks to be placed in locations in the West Bank

By Donna Stefano, Program Director, Palestine Homebuyer Education Program
The Palestine Homebuyer Education Program (PHEP), funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), has launched an electronic affordability calculator kiosk. Twelve of these kiosks will be placed in central locations across the West Bank for consumers to use, including inside municipal service centers established by the LGI program and shopping centers.
Each of the kiosks features the theme of PHEP’s public relations campaign (Measure before you Dive!). Using a 14” touch screen, consumers input four values: their monthly income, their monthly outstanding debt obligations, the interest rate for the mortgage loan and their desired term/length of their loan. The calculator then provides the consumer with the maximum value of the home they can afford, the maximum mortgage amount they would be eligible for, the required down payment (based on 20% of the value of the home), and their monthly payment amount.
This information will help consumers determine how much home they can afford before they begin a home search, a practice which is not necessarily the norm in Palestine. It will also provide more information on mortgage financing, helping some consumers realize that obtaining a mortgage loan is more affordable than they would have thought. Many Palestinian consumers try to save their money to buy a home with cash. But they can face financial hardships when trying to do this, or often home prices increase at a greater rate than what they are able to save, leaving home ownership out of the range of their affordability for a long time.
The electronic kiosks will remain on-site at these locations for 12 months and statistics on usage will be monitored by program staff. The software will also be made available online for consumers to use.