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Iraq suffers from a severe shortage of housing units with the high cost of living witnessed in Mesopotamia, as many citizens were forced to live in rents amid the difficulty of buying a house. With the crisis that erupted during the past years due to the huge number of the Iraqi population and their increase year after year, the price of one residential square meter in popular areas reached a thousand dollars, despite their lack of some basic services .
Four million units
The head of the Investment Authority, Suha Al-Najjar, confirmed the country's need for about four million housing units to solve the housing crisis in Iraq. She said, "The authority granted approximately 130 investment licenses during 2021," noting that "work has begun on many stalled projects." She added in a television statement that "there are 1,800 permits between fake and semi-fake," noting that "the number of lagging projects exceeds 500." She indicated that "the Investment Authority was born during a period of widespread corruption and reform fighters are present in every sector and field," stressing that "political pressures continue to obtain investment licenses ."
Al-Najjar said, "We are facing great political pressure regarding the granting of land," noting that "the capital, Baghdad, has been subjected to random construction, and we need three or four million housing units to solve the housing crisis, and that the strict measures have increased bureaucracy, and the real investor does not benefit from the exemptions ." .
Millions of acres lost
Al-Najjar explained that the country "lost millions of dunams as a result of fake and semi-pseudo-projects, and that the authority seeks to repeat the experience of the Bismayah residential city." She confirmed that she does not have a legal basis to impose prices for housing units on investors, revealing a government movement to amend the investment law, and announcing the imminent formation of a government committee to look into the lands granted during the past 20 years .
She said that "the housing projects in Baghdad are not affiliated with the authority, and therefore the authority of the authority cannot be imposed on it." She added, "When granting an investment license, investors are held accountable in terms of cost and prices, and when a feasibility study is submitted at the price, it is fixed in the contract and a fine is imposed in the event of an increase in prices, and in this way, the executive way, prices are controlled." She pointed out that the projects affiliated with the National Investment Authority are few, as well as that "the previous investment projects were not in accordance with a feasibility study, which raises the prices of housing units, and that the authority is working to change the investment law ."
Formation of a committee with participation
The head of the National Investment Authority explained that a committee will be formed with the participation of the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of State Resources and Finance and the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers to consider the lands granted during the past 20 years, as no government agency has the right to interfere with unit prices according to the current law, noting that "the problem of unit prices is the result of corruption." Today, even the average citizen cannot buy a housing unit because of the high prices, and the authority is working to amend the investment law and expedite the implementation of a number of paragraphs, foremost of which is the mechanism for granting land as it spoiled the investment process, as well as the facilities provided to the investor before implementation, which led to the conversion of the investment license into a process Brokerage, confirming that after Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi directed in this regard, 200 projects were withdrawn, in addition to imposing delay fines that may reach 10 percent of the project cost, as well as non-renewal of licenses .
On the other hand, the economic researcher, Nabil Jabbar Al-Ali, indicated that the number of Iraqi families is increasing annually due to the population increase, as the number of families was approximately 3.25 million families in 2002 and swelled until it reached more than 8.25 million families now .
Al-Ali said that this increase in the number of Iraqi families needs an expansion in many housing units, which the governments did not pay attention to despite its importance, so the demand gap increased, which was compensated by dividing the existing real estate and roles into smaller and smaller properties until the features of cities and neighborhoods were distorted and pressure increased on the structures The dilapidated infrastructure and real estate prices increased several times, and did not provide a decent family atmosphere for the repressive families in narrow spaces and crowded places .
According to the economic researcher, a few years ago, the idea of moving towards the establishment of housing investment projects expanded, especially with the availability of an investment law that gives investors many advantages and privileges, especially those related to free land. Because investors have exploited the volume of demand for real estate, causing prices to rise more than 300 percent above the cost rates, or more times for some complexes that enjoy a prestigious real estate position .
He pointed out that the move to focus on housing investments will not provide a solution to the crisis, but may contribute to providing part of the housing units and covering a limited part of the gap. Several thousands, meaning that the outcome of the existing residential investment may not provide more than 5-10 percent of the total deficit .
There is no suitable investment environment
But political researcher Ali al-Baydar believes that there is no suitable investment environment in Iraq, because capital is a coward looking for safety, so you find most investment projects, especially in the field of real estate, in the Kurdistan region, indicating that investment in housing and real estate is a modern culture on the Iraqi capital, which fears The risk .
Al-Baydar said that there are many obstacles, including intensive bureaucratic procedures, in addition to corruption and extortion by armed groups, pointing out that the state does not have any vision in developing this sector, and from here it must work to attract investors, and there are no accurate and official statistics About the many Iraqis who live in the house of a king, but in a country where poverty exceeds 30 % , it is certain He believed that random construction made cities lose a lot of areas, the cost of removing them and compensating their owners became very expensive, which is another issue related to the loans granted for construction, which are not sufficient or are exploited for anything other than construction .
The gap between supply and demand
Many Iraqi citizens suffer from not having a home, while some of them live in rented homes at prices not less than $300. Economic researcher Bassam Raad criticizes housing policies that are still unable to bridge the gap between supply and demand, and the deficit in the housing sector is still high, estimated at three Millions of housing units, in addition to the scarcity of serviced residential lands that can be distributed and built .
Despite the tendency to invest in this sector by granting investment licenses to build housing complexes, housing prices in those complexes have reached fantastic numbers for the middle and poor class, when they were supposed to be affordable and affordable, according to Raad .
He pointed out that the rise in real estate prices significantly exceeds the income of the Iraqi citizen has negatively affected societal stability, as family ownership of housing enhances social stability, and the right to housing is one of the most important human rights, as international conventions place it in the ranks of basic human rights .
Raad explained that "due to the lack of a clear strategic vision to confront and bridge the wide gap in the housing sector between the little supply and the large and steadily rising demand due to population growth, the housing crisis will escalate in the coming years ."
Added 09/18/2022 - 10:30 AM
Update 09/18/2022 - 12:00 PM
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