Jordanians slip from property ladder as prices soar

Jordanians slip from property ladder as prices soar
Feature: Wealthy Jordanian expatriates buy majority of homes on offer, as wages of ordinary Jordanians fall behind soaring house prices.
2 min read
25 March, 2015
Jordan's housing sector cannot keep up with demand for new properties [AFP]

Said, a 36-year-old Jordanian civil servant, has spared no effort to secure decent housing, like most of his colleagues who joined the civil service after graduating.

He knows that he still has a long way to go before being able to afford a house, especially after four years of booming property prices: The average house price now stands at $65,000. The average salary is $7,380 a year.

Said wonders how long he would have to save to be able to afford even a simple home for his family.

The average salary is $7,380 a year, while the average house price has risen to $65,000.

Housing is one of the most pressing problems in Jordan.

The Housing and Urban Development Cooperation, a government institution, has devised a national strategy to help citizens, especially the poor, get a good home through public-private sector projects.

Over the past four decades the cooperation has completed 185 projects, housing 84,000 families.

However, Jordan is still running a housing deficit - only 30-35,000 of the 45,000 new homes needed are built a year.

While Said and many others like him are unable to climb the property ladder, Jordanian expats are responsible for 70 percent of house deals in the country.

Furthermore, figures by the Jordanian Engineers Association show that approximately 30,000 apartments in the country remain vacant, primarily in Amman, Zarqa and Irbid, which attract investments, expats and businessmen.

The Jordanian housing market has witnessed an increase in prices due to the increase demand over the past few years, especially from the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled the security crisis in Syria.

According to the Jordanian central Bank, prices are now 8 percent higher than in 2013.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.