Housing and Changing Perceptions
Economy, Domestic Economy

Housing and Changing Perceptions

Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi said on Monday that the government’s groundless meddling in the housing sector, will impair the industry.
“Nearly one third of the budget of Iranian households is spent on housing. That is a substantial amount which matters a lot for many urban households,” he said while addressing a conference on housing development policies in Tehran, MNA reported.
“The housing policies must be made in accordance with the shifting pattern of family size instead of the total population increase,” he said.
“In Iran, the number of families reportedly rises by 4% every year, which shows a new trend in demand is emerging,” he said. “Moreover, today’s perception of housing is dramatically different with that of 20 years ago, because the kind of household and the demands raised by them have been changing drastically.”
Family size is reported to have radically changed over the past couple of decades as a result of the government family planning that was enforced during the eighties as well as the economic vows such as the rising unemployment rate and the surge in living costs.
Although the government has recently adopted a policy to convince families to have more children, during eighties it provided numerous incentives to families to limit the fertility rate to a maximum of 3 children for every family.  
Underlining the need for what he called “fair distribution of housing units across the county,” he said that 1.5 million Iranian families are now living in a single room.
He further said that according to the 2013 statistics, there were only 15.5 million houses available for sheltering nearly 16.5 million urban households. “That shows a deficit of about 1 million.”
“Urban population accounts for nearly 80% of the country’s total population as we have seen an influx of rural population to large cities has been in the past 40 years,” he said.  
Over 50% of the total urban population is based in just 10 metropolises.
The official criticized the former administration for the hasty implementation of the so-called Mehr housing scheme, saying: “The scheme ushered in critical urban intensity.”   
He said that the 400,000 housing units that were built in Tehran as part of the Mehr project led to “explosive intensity” in the capital.
The Mehr housing project, initiated in 2007 by the former administration, was expected to provide two million low-income strata of the society with affordable housing through free land and cheap credits, which were to be offered to contractors. But the national project slowed down later due to lack of financing.
Despite its opposition to the controversial scheme, the Rouhani administration announced last year that it would continue the construction of the unfinished parts of the project. However, it refused to implement new phases of the scheme.

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