Govt Attempts to Solve Iraqi Kurdistan’s Housing Crisis Causes Even Bigger Problems
Authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan are trying to solve the housing crisis in the area by handing out home loans to those wanting to build their own place and by providing low-income families with state housing. However, despite thousands of locals applying for one or the other, both processes appear to have come to a halt. Rather than doing any good, they are causing anger and anxiety.
One of the big problems for locals building their own homes in Iraq and in the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan is the way the construction is financed. It’s usually a piece meal thing, meaning that when the families can afford to add, say, a door, or a roof, they do so. This means that it can take years to finish a house. It also means that the landscape is littered with hundreds of half-finished buildings.
To solve this problem, the government of Iraqi Kurdistan started to make home loans available to those needing them. In 2013, around IQD600 billion (around US$500 million) was set aside for loans. Some of this money went into agriculture, industry and tourism loans but most – IQD500 billion (or US$420 million) – was allocated for housing loans.
In 2012, an NGO called Extended Family that specialized in micro-loans for similar purposes reported how it worked: “The Kurdistan Regional Government has just announced that it will begin offering no interest home loans to qualifying families to renovate or build a new home. It will loan up to $17,000 to a single family who qualifies for the loan. The repayment time will be extended to 20 years in some cases. This will give the family ample time to work and repay the loan”.
The government of Iraqi Kurdistan made the system part of its ongoing manifesto. “The government will continue to offer loans and mortgages to those who need them in order to make it easier for them to get married, build houses or complete other projects,” it proclaims on its own website.