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Housing developers urge gov’t response to avert ‘crisis’

By Laila Azzeh - Jun 22,2017 - Last updated at Jun 22,2017

The Jordan Housing Developers Association urged the government to swiftly intervene to ‘rescue’ the housing sector, which it says is going through ‘huge financial difficulties’ (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — The government has yet to respond to the appeal from real-estate investors to provide incentives to the sector ahead of the summer, according to a concerned source. 

Earlier this month, the Jordan Housing Developers Association (JHDA) urged the government to swiftly intervene to “rescue” the housing sector, which it says is going through “huge financial difficulties” which might affect the national economy.

“We have not yet received any response from the government. Time is passing and we want to benefit from having expatriates coming back to the country by encouraging them to buy properties,” association president, Zuheir Omari, told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

He argued that providing potential buyers with incentives would encourage them to purchase apartments, which would in turn stimulate the economy. 

“We hope that the government will do something before it is too late,” Omari said.     

In a letter to Prime Minister Hani Mulki around two weeks ago, the association urged the government to provide the sector with a number of incentives in order to prevent threatened companies from “exiting the market”. 

“Hundreds of housing firms are facing a very difficult financial situation that might affect their ability to continue in their business. Failing to support them will have negative consequences for the national economy,” JHDA President Zuheir Omari told The Jordan Times on Sunday. 

In the letter, the syndicate highlighted that some companies have resorted to selling apartments at less than the cost of construction, incurring “huge losses” and threatening to cause a “real-estate crisis’’.

To this end, the JHDA, an umbrella of more than 3,000 real-estate companies, has called for exempting the first 150 square metres of every purchased residential property from taxes and reducing ownership transfer fees to 5 per cent until September. 

Saying that 30 per cent of the sector’s revenues go to the Treasury, Omari noted that the sector boosts at least 40 other fields linked to construction, while creating thousands of direct and indirect work opportunities. 

“We are still waiting for the premier’s reply, but we hope that they will respond positively to our appeal… this is only a short-term plan but we hope that the sector is included in the economic stimulus plan,” the sector representative said. 

In earlier remarks to The Jordan Times, JHDA Vice President Munir Abu Assal warned of a “possible spread of slums” because citizens will not be able to afford the increasing cost of apartments, prompting them to look for alternatives, such as arbitrary construction, he said. 

 

Noting that the sector currently generates more than JD10 billion a year, he also warned that the “high” taxes on the sector make it harder for citizens to purchase their own housing units, arguing that this will eventually harm the sector and affect its ability to support the economy.

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