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Housing investors want ban on non-Jordanian developers

By Omar Obeidat - Feb 16,2014 - Last updated at Feb 16,2014

AMMAN –– The government may take a decision soon restricting investments in the housing sector to Jordanian developers only.

Kamal Awamleh, president of Jordan Housing Developers Association (JHDA), told The Jordan Times on Sunday that the association has urged the government to ban foreign and Arab investors from developing residential projects in the Kingdom due to issues related to post-sale maintenance contracts.

“For example, several Iraqi investors built housing projects and left to settle in other countries,” Awamleh said, explaining that several buyers have complained to JHDA from construction faults after developers left the country.

He added that the association has called on the government to restrict investments in the property market to Jordanian companies only, or to allow foreigners and Arabs to enter into partnerships with Jordanian investors who should own at least 51 per cent equity in such joint firms.

“This would be a fair decision to protect homebuyers,” Awamleh continued, noting that there are 2,700 companies registered at JHDA.

According to Awamleh, the real estate market is still on uptrend.

He referred to official data which showed that trading in the property market reached JD6.3 billion in 2013.

Indicating that although prices of residential apartments went up by around 10 per cent in 2013 compared to the previous year, Awamleh said that more apartments were sold last year.

According to Department of Land and Survey data, a total of 30,380 residential apartments were sold in 2013, a 19 per cent increase over the 25,434 units sold in 2012.

The JHDA president called on the government to open the door for investors to import cement from neighbouring countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt as prices of domestic prices have increased sharply over the past year.

Another factor that could contribute to lowering the prices of residential units, Awamleh mentioned shortening the 10 months period for the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) to grant approval for licences, describing the period as “too long”.

“If the government allows us to import cement from cheaper markets and GAM slashes the period for granting licences, housing prices could go down by at least 15 per cent,” he claimed. 

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