Bahrain's Ministry of Housing is to allot 2,500 properties to applicants by the year end, thus bringing down the waiting list for housing from 52,500 to 50,00, said the director of housing projects, construction and maintenance at the ministry.
Sami Juma Mandeel, Director of Housing Projects, Construction and Maintenance at the Ministry of Housing, told the Bahrain News Agency, "These allotments would mean that the applicants know where their home is to being built. They can see their dream taking shape before them."
Of the 2,500 properties 314 houses are in Jidhafs, 376 are in Malkiya, 601 are in North East Muharraq, 107 are in Arad, 67 houses are in Qalat Al Bahrain, 126 are in Burhama, 61 are in Jow, 35 in Jasra, 47 in Askar, 72 in Budaiyya, 116 in Al Dair and Samaheej, 200 in Busaiteen, 200 in Zallaq, and some more in Bouri and Muharraq 207, said the director pointing to a document.
He said that even as the allotments are made, the structure of the house would be built. The overall cost of completing these projects would be BD85 million, said Mandeel.
Asked about the funding for the projects, he added that housing was top priority and funding was not going to be a problem. Annual housing allotment is BD180 million, said the director and this is more than enough for 6,000 houses.
"In a year we can leverage 4,500 houses and in the present situation there is enough land for 30,000 more houses," he said to prove that housing would go on at a steady pace.
In addition to the 2,500 the government planned to build another 3,000 dwelling units in 2012, said the director. These, he said, were the numbers under the direct contracting of the Ministry of Housing – ie the contracts for these houses would be awarded by the ministry.
The private sector, public sector participation would also result in a substantial number of houses, said Mandeel, though he could not provide figures.
As the year 2012 comes to a close the number of applicants on the waiting list of the ministry would see a healthy reduction, "But I cannot vouch for homes on request," he said. Sustainability of projects is an important part of the overall strategy, he added.
"We are focused on that aspect," said the director.
Looking into the future of housing in the country, Mandeel said the waiting list could be brought down considerably with a paradigm shift in attitudes. "It is time the housing sector in Bahrain went vertical, moving into towers that are very spacious and meeting the needs of the home owners," he added.
The director said the reserving of land for housing in Hoora – as mentioned by the parliament – could be used as a test case. One of the challenges facing the government housing is the availability of other services – including electricity and water – along with the shell.
There has to be greater harmonization between the providers, said Mandeel.