King Abdullah II announced that the government would build 20,000-plus properties a year for poor Jordanians who are unable to afford their own homes (MEED 27:2:08). The government is likely to sell the properties at below market rates or even give them for free to the most needy.

The first tranche of 20,500 properties will be built in Abu Alanda on the south-eastern edge of Amman.

The Housing and Development Corporation abandoned an earlier plan to build some 10,000 homes in Al-Jiza because the contractor could not complete the work by the end of this year.

Jordan’s government has a growing budget deficit. The Finance Ministry estimates that the deficit will reach JD724m or 5.6 per cent of gross domestic product by the end of 2008. Any cost overruns on the housing programme will add to the financial difficulties facing the government.