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Posted On: 13 May 2009 01:07 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Affordable housing next big thing for developers

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Property developers in Qatar are now increasingly looking to create housing stock for middle-income users as there is clearly a shortage, says an expert. “We see an opportunity for affordable housing here,” said Blair Hagkull, managing director (Middle East) of US-based property services firm, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). The firm has operations here as well. “We had discussions (on the subject) with the government as well as clients,” Hagkull told this newspaper on the sidelines of a symposium on global investment held by financial services firm Amwal here yesterday. Confirming that the clients he was referring to were developers, Hagkull said two key considerations in this regard were affordability of land and construction cost. According to global standards, a person typically spends 30 to 35 percent of his income on affordable housing. This is how affordable housing can be precisely defined. Hagkull reiterated that with greater supply and adjustment in pricing, there was greater opportunity for affordable housing here now. “This is the right time to plan such housing schemes as any real estate project takes about two to five years to complete.” Earlier, answering a question during a panel discussion on ‘Real Estate in the Middle East: Calling a Bottom?’ on why developers were not focusing on creating housing for lower-income people, an expert suggested it was probably because construction cost here had been rising by an enormous 25 percent annually. It was also pointed out during the question-answer session that one of the problems in the GCC region as a whole had been that in the past five years real estate had turned into a short-term trading commodity.