Dubai has allocated over 100 hectares of land for affordable housing, mostly to meet the demand for dwellings for people earning between Dh3,000 and Dh10,000 per month, a senior government official told Emirates 24|7 in an exclusive interview.
“In just three areas — Muhaisnah 4, Al Qouz 3 and 4 — we allocated land in excess of 100 hectares for affordable housing and that will take up more than 50,000 people. “We have many more areas where similar housing will come up,” said Abdulla Mohammed Rafia, Assistant Director General for Engineering and Planning Sector, Dubai Municipality.
Abdulla Mohammed Rafia, Assistant Director General for Engineering and Planning Sector, Dubai Municipality. (Supplied)
For the first time, the civic body defined affordable housing in Dubai as “living space for people whose salary is between Dh3,000 to Dh10,000 per month”.
“Usually in any city, you will have to provide between 15 and 20 per cent of the total housing units in the affordable range and if you don’t then you will have that kind of influx of people coming in and going out every morning and evening.”
The current residential supply in the emirate stands at 377,000, JLL, a real estate consultancy’s data discloses, with experts predicting between 20,000 and 25,000 new units to be delivered this year.
Rafia reiterated the municipality’s role was only limited to allocating land and issuing guidelines for affordable housing and it refrains from enforcing the regulations on developers.
“We will give the guidelines and developers should follow them, but if they don’t, we will not be forcing them as we don’t want to interfere, or else, we have to interfere as the government.
“That happened before in the late 1970s and early ’80s and it worked. We built so many houses in Dubai.”
He expected government-owned real estate companies to compensate for lack of affordable housing if master developers did not take up these developments.
A concern for the official was that mismanagement, greed and middlemen had resulted in the affordable developments post their completion did not cater to the respective segment.
“Our business is to provide land for that [affordable housing] purpose and we will try to keep it for that purpose, but when these are developed the purpose changes sometime due to mismanagement, greed and middlemen driving the prices up.
“The entities may earn money, but that is not profitable for the city as it loses money in rectifying other problems such as traffic.”
Emirates 24|7 reported earlier that a few government and private developers have launched “freehold” housing projects for people earning between Dh15,000 and Dh25,000 per month, but the municipality move is intended to cater to the need on the rental side.
Last week, Dubai Investments Chief Executive Officer Khalid bin Kalban told this website that the property market was to gain momentum in 2016 with affordable housing category outshining the luxury segment
Read: Affordable housing for Dh10k earners in Dubai