The National Investment Commission (NIC) of the Iraqi government has launched a $25bn programme to build 500,000 low-cost homes throughout Iraq‘s 15 governorates and the Kurdistan region.

NIC received proposals on 1 March to finance and build a predetermined number of housing, public and commercial buildings in each of the 16 regions. Contract awards are expected on 16 May.  

The initiative comes as the first wave of a government plans to provide two million affordable homes by 2015, together with $20bn of new infrastructure. According to the NIC, the infrastructure required in many of the rural areas will be basic roads, water, sewage, electricity and, eventually, telecommunications.    

The housing units will have to comply with guidelines for size, layout, energy efficiency and construction material. Current guidelines stipulate that individual housing units cannot exceed $50,000, with individual units not exceeding 120 square-metres and contain three bedrooms, living room, bathroom, kitchen and storage areas.  

Upon completion of the projects, developers will be required to sell the homes to individual buyers rather than sub-developers or real estate brokers.

The NIC wants apartment buildings for urban centres and single-family homes for rural areas.

The NIC is also assuming that each development will require public services. This means additional construction opportunities will exist in regions that require schools, hospitals, offices, retail and hospitality buildings.

The NIC will liaise between the developer and the Housing and Construction Ministry as well as the local provincial authorities to ensure risk-free and efficient operation.

The Trade Bank of Iraq is the lead financier of the initiative and will arrange separate financial packages with each developer. In the Kurdistan region, the NIC will coordinate between the developer and the Kurdistan Investment Commission.

The approximate number of housing units needed in each of the 15 governorates and the Kurdistan region is as follows:

Province Approximate Housing Units
Anbar 22,500
Babel 27,000
Baghdad 112,000
Basra 40,000
Diwaniyah 17,500
Diayala 21,500
Karbala 15,500
Kirkuk 20,000
Kurdistan Region 70,000
Missan 15,500
Muthana 11,000
Najaf 18,500
Ninewah 50,500
Salah Al Din 19,500
Thi Qar 29,000
Wasit 18,000
Source: National Investment Commission