Friday, April 30, 2010

Iraq Attempts To Meet Its Housing Shortage

As noted before, in 2010 the Iraqi government set about a massive building campaign. On April 4, the Housing Ministry announced that it wanted to solve the country’s housing crisis by 2014 through a mix of foreign and public investment. The Minister said that April and May would see 16 new projects start for housing, and an increase in the Housing Fund that was created in May 2009 that will assist with financing the construction. The Ministry has plans to start 27 housing complexes throughout Iraq with more than 504 units per compound. On April 16, the Iraqi National Investment Committee said that it plans to build 1 million housing units within the next five years relying upon Italian and French companies. If both of these projects were completed it would go a long way to meet all of the housing demand in the country, which is said to stand around 1.5 million houses, according to a 2009 study by the United Nations Human Settlements Program.

Just this month for example, four new projects were announced in four separate provinces to add an additional 8,200 units. On April 5, the Muthanna provincial council’s Investment Commission gave two permits to local investors for a residential and market complex that will include 2,000 units at a cost of 2.934 million Iraqi dinars that is to be finished in three years. On April 12, Basra’s Investment Commission announced a project to build 552 houses in the Faw district in the southern half of the governorate that will include stores and a theme park. Two days later, an Iraqi investor was given a license to build 700 houses and 350 stores in southern Qadisiyah at a cost of $21.24 million in the next 36 months. Finally, on April 19 a Canadian firm invested $299 million into a 5,000 unit apartment complex in Baghdad that will house up to 20,000 people. 

Iraq witnessed massive internal and external displacement in the last several decades before and after the fall of Saddam. Millions lost their homes and were forced to move. The housing shortage also led to an unregulated subdivision of homes that has greatly increased overcrowding in Iraq’s cities. The government is finally attempting to address this long standing issue with its housing plan that started at the beginning of this year. If it’s able to build all one million units, it may just address all the needs of the public. A keen eye will have to be kept on the threat of corruption, quality of work, and whether projects are completed however, to determine whether this is a success or just words from the authorities.


AK News, “Housing crisis in Iraq expected to end by 2014,” 4/4/10
- “International investment companies to build one million housing units in Iraq,” 4/16/10

Aswat al-Iraq, “2 investment permits to build residential city, markets in Muthanna,” 4/5/10
- “$21 million residential compound in Diwaniya,” 4/14/10
- “552 housing units to be built in Basra’s Faw,” 4/12/10
- “Canadian firm to invest in 5,000 housing units in Baghdad,” 4/19/10


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