The local Eskan Bank has invited firms to submit bids for design consultancy services on two housing projects in Bahrain.

The first submission date is 24 April for the Istiqlal residential project. The second is on 8 May for the Karbabad affordable project.

Eskan Bank said in 2011 that it plans to develop 1,200 affordable housing for a total cost of BD45m ($119.4m) in Isa Town, along Estiqlal Highway and Karbabad,

Affordable housing is a major issue in Bahrain with a large number of low to middle income families complaining that there is not enough suitable accommodation for them in the kingdom.

MEED reported in January this year that government of Bahrain has cut the size of a landmark social housing project by a third after problems securing funding for the scheme threatened its viability.

The project has been cut in size from a total of 4,152 units to 2,815 and one of the three planned sites for the scheme has been dropped. Problems attracting private sector funding for the project, originally conceived as a public-private partnership (PPP), have also hit the scheme.