Even before independence, much of Moldova's housing stock was in private hands because of the country's strong tradition of private home ownership, especially in rural areas. In 1994 some 90 percent of rural and 36 percent of urban apartments were held privately.
At the time of Moldova's independence, housing construction was hampered by severe shortages of building materials and disruptions in deliveries. However, the housing stock continued to expand in both rural and urban areas. In 1990 private builders accounted for only 26 percent of construction in urban areas, but they accounted for 95 percent of construction in rural areas. In 1990 per capita housing space averaged eighteen square meters (fourteen square meters in urban areas and twenty-one square meters in rural areas).
All state-owned housing was scheduled for privatization, in stages, beginning in May 1993 and using government-issued vouchers. Apartments that did not exceed state norms for per capita space utilization were to be turned over to their occupants free of charge. People living in apartments that exceeded space norms would have to pay the state a premium based on the average cost per meter of housing construction. Privatization using vouchers was scheduled to be completed in the summer of 1995, at which time there would be an open housing market.
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