MUSCAT, Feb 25 –
Affordable housing for Omani citizens is all set to take off with the developer for the ambitious project expected to be finalised soon.
“The committee, set up by the Supreme Council of Planning, is evaluating proposals and the developer for the project will be announced next month,” said Mohammed bin Salim al Busaidy, Chairman of Oman Real Estate Association and Member Majlis Ash’shura.
The government plans to develop 1,000 houses on a 350,000-square-metre plot at Barka off the Express Highway and give them to Omani youth.
“The project is the first of its kind in the series of affordable housing programmes to be offered to Oman’s young population,” Al Busaidy told the Observer.
The government, represented by the Supreme Council, has worked with the Ministry of Housing and other stakeholders in supporting and financing middle and low-income families through social housing programmes.
In the 2018 budget, a sum of RO 80 million has been allocated for the Social Housing Scheme and Housing Aid Programme for eligible citizens.
The appropriations for housing and development loans amount to RO 30 million. According to Al Busaidy, the committee has received proposals from many property developers.
A total of nine property developers were shortlisted by the Supreme Council for building the housing units.
“With the implementation of the new scheme, housing problems in the Sultanate is expected to be solved to some extent,” he said.
Data shows that salaries of Omani nationals are generally limited, with 53.7 per cent earning below RO 500.
Only a few individuals earn in excess of RO 2,000.
However, experts say this needs to be seen against an average household size of more than six people.
“Oman needs housing solutions that cater to a young, rapidly growing population,” said Tariq al Lawati, a bank employee.
Every Omani has a strong desire to own, rather than rent a house, he said.
Recent government efforts to address unemployment among Omani nationals, coupled with significant increases in minimum salaries have helped underpin sharp growth in the average incomes of Omani households.