Dubai will have to supply 100,000 units of affordable housing to meet the demands by 2020, shared a panel on affordable housing at the Construction Week UAE Infrastructure Summit 2014.
Although the country has witnessed the largest supply of affordable housing in the UAE in 2013 with a total of 20,000 units added to the market, it will have to do more to meet the growing demands.
“400,000 affordable units need to be supplied between 2003-2013 – we are now at 375,000. The issue is that Dubai 2020 is trying to create 377,000 jobs - out of these jobs, the assumption is that 30% of that is white collar. So we are at a shortage of around 100,000 affordable units,” explained Nadine Bitar, founder of Place Making.
“Government can introduce incentives to encourage developers in order to develop these social housing or affordable housing developments.” Ahmed Bukhash, chief architect & founder at Archidentity, said.
He suggested that the UAE follow the lead of a scheme in New York in which companies were encouraged to build affordable housing in return for sites in more prominent areas which can be sold off for vertical developments.
Maysa Sabah, managing director of the GCC of Affordable Housing Institute, finds that the global trend for implementing affordable housing has been through the government providing an environment for the private sector. Sabah suggested turnkey buying, public private partnerships providing incentives as a few solutions that could work in the GCC.
Other ways to incentivize building affordable housing according to Sabah are “easing government process, relaxing planning regulations, inclusionary zoning which is mandating that all residential developments have to have a certain number of units that are affordable”.
Tibor Kovats, planning director at Hyder Consulting added: “Affordable housing is not just about the house, it is about the transport, the community facilities and amenities that make up the total package of housing.”