Jordanian contractor Aphrodite Trading Company has been awarded an estimated $240m contract to build 2,500 houses in Tikrit, northern Iraq.

The Jordanian contractor will build the villas over a three-year period.

Solving the current housing crisis is one of the biggest challenges currently facing Iraq. Estimates of the current shortfall range from 2-3.5 million homes and demand is growing.

In the National Development Plan (NDP) for 2010-14, the government has allocated $31.6bn, 17 per cent of the $186bn of total planned investment, towards increasing housing stock and regenerating dilapidated buildings. The programme will be funded through government and private investment. The schemes will be procured by central government and regional governorate bodies.

In March, the Basra Investment Commission awarded a $245m contract to the local contractor Al-Saqr al-Jareh to build 1,857 units on the outskirts of Basra in Southern Iraq.