New affordable housing plan in Jordan

Banks in Jordan have done very well in recent times, with some banks that focus on housing posting 18% gains in 2007. However, the country has started to take a closer look at citizens of the lower class.

King Abdullah II recently announced the launch of a $7 billion property development project aimed at creating housing for citizens that have lower incomes. 

Last Monday the second-largest listed bank in Jordan, the Housing Bank for Trade and Finance THBK.AM, announced a net profit increase of 18% 2007, up to 111.5 million dinars, coupled with significant growth among all sectors.

The bank's chairman, Michel Marto, credited the company's healthy 2007 performance to their diversified portfolio of activities, which were pushed forward by increased deposits and generally strong business activity within Jordan and growing regional markets.

Company announcements such as these have been commonplace for companies operating within Jordan, and while they create stable income streams for wealthy foreign investors, poorer residents living in Jordan have suffered a shortage of housing and other real estate problems associated with a lack of low income housing.

However, low income citizens across the kingdom received news of a new five-billion-dinar project soon to be launched and backed by King Abdullah II himself. The king recently commented during a ceremony taking place at the Dead Sea, "I know that Jordanians suffer from housing problems. Social and economic security is a top priority that requires providing good living conditions for many families."

Entitled the, "Decent Home for Decent Living" plan, approximately one hundred thousand homes will be constructed in central, northern, and southern sections of Jordan during the next five years. This was confirmed by the Minister of Public Works and Housing, Sahel Majali to reporters yesterday. He added, "Each apartment will be sold for 24,000 dinars (around 33,000 dollars) in 240 instalments, and the government has already received 18,000 applications to benefit from the plan."

"We will study the possibility of building another 100,000 houses if the need arises, as well as mechanisms to provide houses to private sector employees on limited and low incomes," he further added.