Affordable housing in the GCC: National policies and future needs

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

In part 1 of this article published last month, we looked at problems and challenges in the provision of affordable housing in GCC countries. In this article we turn our attention to the actions already being taken by governments and charitable institutions and look at further measures that needed to ensure that GCC populations have adequate housing.

National housing policies

With the growing population in the Gulf region and the shortage of affordable housing, the GCC countries are taking serious measures to improve the housing situation.

In Qatar, the Ministry of Civil Service Affairs and Housing has been providing since the mid-1960s affordable housing and furnishing allowances for Qatari citizens with limited income or special needs. In 2007, a general law granted Qatari citizens special facilities for housing loans and purchase of land. Recently, the ceiling for home loans was doubled to $ 330,000 for eligible nationals and repayment tenure was extended to 37 years. The Qatar Development Bank is the main institution responsible for providing government housing loans for citizens.

In Bahrain, in 2007, the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa Habitat Award was established to promote the principles of good governance and equity in housing. The Bahraini government launched a series of regional and international conferences addressing housing issues, the most recent being the Middle-East Affordable Housing Development Summit in 2012. Amendments to the law on land and building regulations now allows the construction of additional houses on plots of land and the enlargement of small houses. A major reclamation project is Diar Al-Muharraq, supported by the government and launched by the private sector, a mix of residential and commercial properties with over 30,000 housing units. In January 2012, the government struck a deal with the private sector to deliver more than 4,000 homes for low-income citizens. Eskan Bank provides housing finance solutions for Bahraini citizens within the framework of the national economic vision.

Kuwait's Five Year Plan 2010-14 included a budget of $40bn to meet the urgent need for housing. The plan targets the development of mega projects and numerous urban projects, the construction of residential units and the development of new satellite cities in different regions. One mega project is Silk City or Madinat Al Hareer, an urban centre with over 175,000 units. The Kuwait Public Authority for Housing Welfare, with the participation of the private sector, launched the Sabah Al Ahmad Future City project providing 11,000 residential units including 9,000 housing units for Kuwaitis on welfare. Under a new law, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development has to contribute up to 25 percent of its net annual income to the Public Authority for Housing Assistance. Oman’s Five-Year Development Plan (2011-15) seeks to implement housing projects with a budget of $1.16bn (eight percent of total planned spending).

Sultan Qaboos ordered a grant of $520m for the housing assistance programme, which includes housing loan projects. New land laws were issued (May 2011) exempting lower-income nationals from fees or allowing a fee reduction, and government subsidies were distributed to them while the Ministry of Housing increased their housing loan. The Oman Affordable Housing Summit (June 2011) discussed the government’s affordable housing policies and the First Oman Sustainable Urbanisation Conference (September 2011) examined rapid urbanisation and its impact on communities, economies and policies. The Oman Housing Bank contributes to the development of the housing sector by providing affordable housing and lending services for Omani adult nationals d with a fixed monthly income.

Article continued on next page

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Do celebrity branded projects ever work?

Do celebrity branded projects ever work?

The long list of celebrity-endorsed real estate developments...

Is this the end of the Gulf’s Indian cash dash?

Is this the end of the Gulf’s Indian cash dash?

From currency woes to taxation loopholes closing and a clampdown...

Mall talk

Mall talk

Plans for Dubai’s Mall of the World have made headlines all over...

Most Discussed
  • 24
    World's most pierced man refused entry to the UAE

    Tolerance has its limits everywhere including Dubai and those who considered Dubai a lawless circus were held thank you Dubai authorities... more

    Thursday, 21 August 2014 10:51 PM - Khalil
  • 23
    Baby NOT on board?

    Some of you cry babies need to get your own personal apartments on the plane ! You cry more then the babies I have seen in my travels. LOL more

    Thursday, 28 August 2014 9:10 AM - Jim
  • 21
    Israel “must be punished” over Gaza, says Dubai police chief

    This high moral ground that Mick is talking abt sound very familiar. May I remind Mick that the US & its British ally alone killed over 1 million innocent... more

    Thursday, 7 August 2014 4:12 PM - Mathew