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Syndicate accuses GAM of disrupting housing sector’s growth

By Omar Obeidat - Jul 19,2014 - Last updated at Jul 19,2014

AMMAN – The housing investors association on Saturday reiterated claims that the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) is holding back the sector’s development. 

Jordan Housing Developers Association (JHDA) President Kamal Awamleh said GAM takes some four months to grant approval for licences to builders of residential apartments, an obstacle he said which puts additional costs on investors of between 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the price of the apartment. 

Awamleh charged that the delay in granting permits was due to the lack of qualified technical cadres at GAM and the “moody behaviour of employees”. 

GAM Spokesperson Mazen Farajin dismissed Awamleh’s claims, saying that GAM employees deal with people in a professional manner. 

Farajin stopped short of commenting on the issue of delays in granting licences, saying that GAM will issue a statement in the coming days on this particular matter. 

The statement may include measures to further facilitate the work of investors, he added. 

Awamleh said the JHDA has contacted the government and GAM officials to address obstacles facing housing investors, adding that these obstacles would slow down the performance of the real estate sector in Jordan.

He called for amending the building regulations in Amman, which he said were issued in 1966, stipulating that residential buildings in Amman cannot be higher than five storeys.

The regulations should be amended to be in line with the increasing population and the “sharp” increase in land prices and building material costs, the investor said in a statement issued Saturday. 

In remarks to The Jordan Times over the phone, Awamleh said the cost of land constitutes around 50 per cent of the overall value of housing projects. 

He also urged authorities to expand infrastructure such as roads and water networks into Amman’s outlying areas, as there is intense competition among developers for increasingly scarce plots of land in the capital that are suitable for residential projects.

Affordable housing is becoming out of reach for the majority of Jordanians, Awamleh said, warning that the housing instability issue could be a problem if authorities fail to address the rising prices of residential properties.

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