Bahrain sets aside $1.5bn for 16,000 new homes

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Bahrain will allocate up to BHD580m (US$1.51bn) for 16,000 new homes in a bid to ease the Gulf state’s affordable housing shortfall, a senior government official said.

Funding for the new homes will be allocated through a combination of a new state budget for 2013-2014 and the GCC Marshall Plan, a Gulf-wide fund set up to help support countries hit by the Arab Spring, Khalid Hussain Al Maskati, a member of Bahrain’s Shura Council, told Gulf Daily News.

The Middle East and North Africa has an estimated affordable housing shortfall of 3.5m with nearly half in Egypt, according to real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSalle.

Several Gulf states have pledged to ramp up spending on housing in the wake of the Arab Spring, in a bid to secure quality housing for their growing populations.

The Bahrain government in January signed a record BHD208m with a local developer to build more than 4,000 homes. The deal, the first in the GCC, will see Bahrain-based Naseej build 3,110 social housing units and a further 1,042 low-cost homes in the Northern City, Al Buhair and Al Lawzi projects.

The partnership is the Gulf kingdom’s first public-private partnership agreement and follows more than a year of civil unrest.

Minister for Housing Basim bin Yacob Al Hamer said the deal was a step towards addressing the more than 55,000 people in Bahrain on a waiting list for social housing.

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