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Panel agrees to up subsidy for building materials to KD 30,000 MP queries on rising prices of private houses

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 15: The parliamentary Financial and Economic Affairs Committee has reached an agreement with the government to raise the subsidy for building materials to not more than KD 30,000 as an alternative to the proposal to increase the housing loan. Speaking to reporters after the committee meeting Wednesday, Rapporteur of the panel Mohammed Al-Jabri explained the housing loan will be KD 70,000 cash and the KD 30,000 building materials subsidy will be granted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to the housing care beneficiaries. He disclosed the committee chose this option in a bid to curb the rising prices of real estate properties. He said those who will buy through the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) and don’t want to obtain government land or plots have the right to the subsidy for renovation purposes. He added the committee will vote on the agreement on Sunday and submit its report to the Parliament for approval in Tuesday’s session.

Meanwhile, MP Riyadh Al- Adsani submitted queries to State Minister for Housing Affairs Yasser Hassan Aboul on the rising prices of private houses. He pointed out the reports and studies done on the issue showed that the real estate deals executed in 2013 were valued at KD 3.9 million — an increase of 15.3 percent compared to KD 3.3 million in 2012. He said the number of real estate properties like houses and investment or commercial buildings sold last year totaled 8,576; compared to 9,999 in 2012. He added the number of housing grant applications reached 108,288 as at the end of 2013 and it is expected to increase every year. He went on to say that for instance, a real estate property that cost KD 500,000 in 2012 is now valued at KD 575,000 - the increase is more than the housing loan amount of KD 70,000. In his question, Al-Adsani wants to know the measures taken by PAHW to reduce the prices of private houses. He also asked if there are plans to curb the rising prices, considering the 15 percent increase from 2012 to 2013.

In a related development, Rapporteur of the Housing Affairs Committee Rakan Al-Nisf confirmed the panel discussed ways to address the housing problems on Wednesday in the presence of representatives from real estate and investment companies in the private sector, as well as those from the PAHW and non-profit organizations. He said the Housing Conference will be held in February to draft solutions, revealing that the committee recommended four international housing investment institutions to the Parliament Office. He added these are non-profit institutions and some international consulting firms will be invited to help solve the housing problems of Kuwait.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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