Kuwait bolsters home loans for women

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The Kuwaiti government has approved a raft of measures aimed at providing greater access to home loans for its citizens.

Housing loans for women living in the Gulf state were increased to KWD70,000 (US$246,000) from KWD45,000 while the amount citizens can borrow for renovations rose KWD5,000 to KWD35,000, according to Kuwait’s state news agency.

The cabinet also assigned the Credit and Saving Bank amend legislation allowing the maximum housing loan to be increased from KWD300,000 to KWD500,000.

Living costs were a key issue in the wave of political unrest that swept Bahrain and other Arab states last year, toppling rulers in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. The MENA region has an estimated affordable housing shortfall of 3.5 million, pricing homes out of the reach of many citizens.

Saudi Arabia has the largest shortfall in the Gulf of 400,000 homes followed by 40,000 homes in Bahrain, 20,000 in the UAE and 15,000 in Oman, according to consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

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

Saudi has pledged to spend US$130bn on social projects such as building low-cost housing and creating jobs, while King Abdullah in March said he would spend US$67bn on 500,000 new homes.

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