Affordable homes vital to UAE’s prospects says JLL’s head of research

Increasing the amount of affordable housing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is vital for the future of the UAE, according to delegates at the Cityscape Global Conference.

The progress of moves to develop this sector and what further needs to be done were subjects covered by Craig Plumb, head of research for the MENA region for property company JLL.

“I hope most of us in this room agree there is a shortage,” he said. “Not only for economic reasons but also for social ones important to do something about this.”

Plumb identified the challenges developers face in this field are cost of land, infrastructure and contractors, the strategy of developers and the regulations for real estate in effect.

He said out of 4,000 housing units made available this year in Dubai just 20% were in the affordable range – an inbalance as 40% of households were in a bracket defined as middle income.

Regulations concerning affordable home building have been introduced in Abu Dhabi, Plumb told the audience, but they need to be tightened up. Dubai has not yet followed suite, but legislation is one its way.

He identified solutions as reducing land and infrastructure costs, increasing the number of zones in which any high end development must be accompanied by affordable housing, expanding public transport and regulations on rent charges.