#Mots-clés : Dernière mise à jour le 7 June 2019


COLOMBIAHistory of Cities – Heritage

Urban Housing

Rural Housing


Right to Housing

The right to housing is enshrined in the Constitution since 1991 (4)

  • Article 51 : All Colombians have the right to decent housing. The state will set the conditions to make this right and will promote social interest housing plans, adequate systems for long-term financing and associative forms of implementation of these programs.
  • Article 64 : It is the duty of the state to promote progressive access to land ownership and agrarian workers, individually or voluntary basis and to education, health, housing, social security, recreation, credit, communications, product marketing, technical and business support to improve the income and quality of life of farmers.

Forced Eviction

The issue of forced evictions in Colombia is closely linked to the issue of POPULATION MOVEMENTS three decades of violence in a context of neoliberal reform reorganization of territories and no organic law to plan the Colombian territory. In 2009, according to a study by Torres Vargas, more than 4.5 million Colombians there were having to be moved during the last three decades. The authors of this study, the displaced live in worse conditions than those precarious local poor. (5)

The centerpiece of the process of political, economic and social model favored by the neoliberal reform has been the reorganization of the territory in a context in which it disputes have been constant. The absence of an Organic Law of Zoning -LOOT in state negligence and lack of social pressure for it to perform, are facts that have allowed the privilege of the market and private sector actors such as computers is maintained. In this sense, anarchy and the constant struggle for a place to make a living from unfavorable material conditions, with no guarantee or protection of the State became the way through which are held in everyday established orders or certain by dynamic economic, cultural and political-that have little or nothing to do with political orders. – established administrative law (5)

A file on the analysis of socio-economic conditions of the displaced and Policy (2005) introduced was developed among others by the National Planning Institute, the World Bank and UNDP Colombia.


  • Database of violations of the right to housing and land in each country (Housing and Land Network): ACCESS to the database
  • Zero Evictions Campaign (International Alliance of Inhabitants): Pagina web

Land Rights

Land Grabbing


  • Online Database about grabbing agricultural terras in the world (GRAIN) : Pagina web
  • The Online Public Database on Land Deals – Global Observatory : Land Matrix



  • PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING : The second largest municipality in Colombia (2.4 million in the city and around 3.5 million in the whole metropolitan region), Medellin, since the dismantling of the drug cartel, has accumulated awards for its urban innovations, one of them being its PB. In less than 10 years, Medellin’s PB has become a solid Colombian reference, both for the number of projects implemented and for its links to a well-established planning practice. To know more about Participatory Budgeting concept or the report made by ProF Y. Cabannes (IIED 2014) :


Housing Market


The housing deficit in Colombia, affects 31% of households. The government recognizes that the deficit amounted to 2.3 million housing units, of which 1.5 million are equivalent to the difference between the number of households and housing units (quantitative deficit) and 800,000 corresponding to those likely to be improved in terms of Quality and services (qualitative deficit).

  • For many, this topic is sensitive if one considers, first, that population growth significantly exceeds the growth in production of new housing, which reaches 2 units per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Second, the housing deficit is more complex in the cities, where the 76% of the population is living. This situation is more worrying as the government estimated 2019 population pressures increase the population of the municipalities in 10 million.
  • Third, any policy that seeks to change the schema of housing tenure and reduce the housing deficit should take into account the socioeconomic conditions of the population, since their income level indicates the ability of households to access homeownership. Currently, 56% of urban households are homeowners, 36.7% live in rent and the remaining 7.3% remains under another scheme tenure as usufruct or occupation indeed.


Colombia went through a favorable situation in construction since 2003, after the mortgage meltdown of 1998-2001. However, it is a fragile recovery, while it does not hold in higher mortgage. In addition, the built volumes reflect saturation points of demand for demographic factors. Despite this, there has been a rapid increase in the prices of final sale, especially since 2004, which would have begun to slow the effective demand for housing, especially in wealthier strata. On the side of domestic demand, favorable factors as the “exhaustion” of the housing stock available, resulting from prolonged foreclosure crisis, as well as attracting significant foreign capital to invest in this sector are mixed. The latter component has a double explanation. On one hand, it is a phenomenon of financial arbitrage, given the low yields on the outside and the collateral damage that caused the fall of the stock exchanges in the United States. Moreover, it has an additional purchasing power, provided by the “foreign remittances” sent by Colombians who have migrated in the past four years.

On the side of the housing supply, according Clavijo (2004), concerned about the rapidly escalating costs of basic construction materials (concrete, brick, steel), resulting from various factors. Locally you have some problems inelasticities the productive sector and apparently phenomena oligopolies.

Quality of Housing

Informal Housing / Slum / Homeless



Housing policy in Colombia goes back to the decade of the 30s, when the first institutional mechanisms were created. In 1932 the Central Mortgage Bank was founded with the primary objective of promoting the construction sector through credit. Later in 1939, the Institute of Territorial Credit, in charge of building and grant credit for the purchase of housing subsidies from the state was created.

For four decades, urban housing policy and low-income families went to these two institutions, but in 1972 the President Misael Pastrana sought a new guideline for economic development based, among other strategies, strengthening the construction sector housing. Corporations Savings and Housing (CAV) and Constant Purchasing Power Unit (UPAC) : During this two tools that transform government housing policy is created.

UPAC (Constant Purchasing Power unitad) = methodology for calculating the mortgage that was used entre 1972 and 1999 calculation method UPAC. The actors of civil society is still in the referent method that is no longer applicable..


From 1991 major changes were introduced in the financing system and state housing policy. On one hand, the Constitution left established the right to “adequate housing” and, moreover, financial tools to make loans of this type have improved the level of resources available to users and reduced the level of delinquency, all this within a context that still has some fluctuations in official caps on the interest rate that affects the incentives of lending financial institutions.

Gradually, the State dismounted his model of welfare cut and funding policy was established through savings and housing corporations and other financial intermediaries who came to compete in the mortgage market under a scheme of short interest rate within the domestic market. In general, from the 1990s, housing policy was held in two components: first, the market rules, under a structure of commercial banks, and on the other hand the doctrine of the Constitutional Court, according to housing which is a well worthwhile.

However, changes in the pattern of economic growth, financial reforms, fluctuations in interest rates and adjustments in calculating the UPAC led to the collapse of the housing finance system at the end of the 1990s.

This housing finance scheme only remained for eight years. Along with its gradual death, a massive loss of housing mortgage borrowers unable to meet its obligations, due to high interest rates, which reached levels above 50% was recorded.

During the economic and financial crisis in the country in the late 90s a drop in housing construction and a loss in the system dynamics experienced mortgage financing (mortgage loans rose from 11% of GDP in 1998 to 5.9% in 2004 and annual outlays for housing finance sector fell from 2.7% of GDP in 1996 to 0.5% in 2004). This difficult situation led to the Constitutional Court decision that changed the course of politics, especially the judgments concerning the prepayment of obligations for mortgage debtors and calculate the restatement (UPAC) regarding increased price index (CPI).


Accordingly was issued Framework Housing Act (Act 546 of 1999) which eliminated the UPAC system and established a conversion mortgages in UPAC to Real Value Units (RVU), whose calculation is set daily based on the behavior of Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Additionally, the housing policy focused on low-income households has also introduced changes, sheltering families earning less than four minimum wages by subsidies. This work was added to the coming developing the family compensation to their members and the shaping of the National System of Social Interest Housing (VIS), all in order to set the parameters for the allocation of subsidies. (Universidad del Rosario, 2007).


Colombia and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) signed on January 29, 2004 a loan agreement, which sought to support the efforts of the Colombian government to improve the provision of social housing in urban areas. The loan amount is US $ 150 million, with a local contribution of US $ 125 million. Specifically, the operation is proposed: build and finance the new management system for urban social housing subsidies; organize and strengthen the institutional and intergovernmental framework for the sector, and support the development of strategic areas of the sector.

For its part, the then Deputy Minister of Housing, Luis Felipe Henao, stressed that the current housing policy has been positive balances (Presidency of the Republic, 2009). According to the National Planning Department (DNP), between 2006 and 2009 to build 153,119 homes were started per year, 39% more than in 2002-2006. Of the total housing starts, the social housing accounted for 48% built in three years, and of these, 47% were homes of priority interest. These housing production figures for 2006-2009 represent the maximum historical from the redefinition of the housing program by the 1991 Act, and show progress in reducing the housing deficit.

Between August 2006 and August 2009, the institutions linked to the VIS political financed 499,743 housing solutions for depressed sectors. As for priority housing (VIP), the increase in production is more noticeable. For the period 2002-2006, the building of VIP increased about 150% compared to the immediately previous four years, reaching an average 27,500 housing solutions. For 2006-2009 is expected that about 34,400 dwellings are built priority interest.


  • FAMILY HOUSING ALLOWANCE OF URBAN SOCIAL INTEREST : A state contribution in cash or in kind given only once to the recipient household. The subsidy is not restored, and is a complement to facilitate the purchase of new housing, on-site construction or improvement of housing. Exceptionally, it allows families of vulnerable populations displaced victims of terrorist acts and affected by disaster or public calamity, apply this subsidy for the purchase of used housing. It is aimed at independent persons who do not have an affiliation to a Family Compensation Fund; employee members of one of these boxes should receive the benefit of it. Subsidies for housing in rural area are assigned by the Agricultural Bank. They can request the allocation of family housing subsidy Social Interest households lacking sufficient resources to obtain or enhance a unique solution of social housing, whose total monthly income do not exceed four minimum monthly wages and eligible pointing applicable laws. Household is defined as a minimum of two people who make up a household, spouse, de facto marital unions and/or group of people united by kinship link up to third degree of consanguinity, affinity and first civil, sharing a same living space.
  • PREVIOUS SAVE : In accordance with Article 21 of Decree 975 of 2004, as amended by Decree 4429 of 2005, the Advance Savings is the commitment of candidates for the family housing subsidy to make contributions in order to gather the necessary resources for acquisition, construction or improvement of social housing. Such prior savings must be at least 10% of the value of housing solution to which the subsidy applies if allocation. They are not obliged to make prior savings households with income less than two minimum wages or household object relocation programs for high-risk areas can not be mitigated, the displaced population, victims of terrorist acts, natural disasters.
  • VALUE OF CHILD BENEFIT OF INCOME HOUSING URBAN (Decree 4466 of 2007) : The value of the Family Grant Income Housing granting the National Housing Fund and the Family Compensation will be up to the equivalent of eleven and a half Minimum Wage Monthly Legal on the date of allocation, when the subsidy is applied to housing improvement. This allowance may only be applied in priority housing solutions social interest. The above limitation shall not apply in the case of investments in large scale projects of national social interest, family allowance programs in kind urban housing projects and social housing in areas with treatment of urban renewal, in accordance with the provisions Article 86 of Law 1151 of 2007.


Bibliography & Sitography

  1. Alianza Internacional de Habitantes, « Políticas alternativas de vivienda en América latina y el Caribe », 2013 coord Paul Maquet Makedonski, pp 41 à 45.
  2. CADTM – Comité pour l’Annulation de la Dette du Tiers Monde – Raúl Zibechi, « Hacia un nuevo ciclo de luchas en América Latina », 2013
  3. CETIM (publication COHRE)
  4. Carlos Alberto Torres Tovar et Eloisa Vargas Johanna Moreno, « Vivienda para población desplazada en Colombia. Recomendaciones para la política pública y exigibilitad del derecho », Revista INVI n°66, vol n°24, Santiago, 2009
  5. Mariella Cardona Tobón, Facultad de economia industrial, « La deuda externa colombiana ».


Major Problems

Major Claims and demands

Some actors from Social Movements

  • AGOBIADOS POR EL UPAC : Contact Luis Enrique Escovar Giraldo
  • JUNTA CIVICA PARAJE EL PINAR = Non-governmental organization that aims to improve the living conditions of the population. WebsiteLes contacter.
  • TECHO : is an organization operating in Latin America and the Caribbean that seeks to overcome the poverty that thousands of people in slums, through the joint action of its people and young volunteers. ROOF is convinced that poverty can definitely overcome if society as a whole fails to recognize that this is a priority issue and is actively working to resolve it. He has three strategic objectives: The promotion of community development in slums Promoting awareness and social action The incidence in politics.