Iraq plans to solve housing shortage
The Iraqi minister of housing and construction, Jasem Mohammed Jaafar, expects decrease in the prices of lands, up to some 25% of their current levels, if the new housing investment law would be ratified. Jaafar added the new law will provide a solution for the housing crisis during the next two years, reported the Iraqi newspaper, Al-Sabah on June 18, 2005.
He added that 5,000 units are accomplished in the framework of the annual program of this huge project, mentioning that according to the recent data of the ministry the country is in need for 3 million housing units to solve the current shortage.
He added that the ministry has started to construct five housing complexes in Misan, Kirkuk, Mosul, Baghdad and Karbala, and will start to set up 10 additional complexes, if the government approves plans. Financing for these projects will come from the ministry's budget.
He added that 2006-2007 will face a "huge housing revolution" with the implementation of the investment program and the forming of investment authority composed of six ministries (housing, finance, municipalities, planning, and the Central Bank). This Authority will encourage investors to participate in financing of housing projects, especially since the donor countries did not allocate additional funds for housing, except for $240 million allocated by the American ministry of transportation for roads and bridges projects.
There are more than US$1 billion of Iraqi capital held by expatriates, who are ready to finance these projects under the supervision of the ministry, which will participate in advising and construction of housing units to be sold to the public.
The investment law, according to the minister, offers many ways of financing, including loans from international banks, construction by local and foreign companies and payment thorough many installments, and more.
According to the minister, several investors intend to construct towers of 40-42 floors on the banks of Tigris River. These projects will include apartments and hotels. The ministry will only supervise upon the construction of these projects.