Rabat is to build 130,000 low-cost housing units in both urban and rural areas. The total cost of the development will be MD15.5bn ($2.1bn).

The units will be directed at families with an income of less than MD2,500 a month and the price of each house will not be more than MD140,000.

Priority for the new homes will be given to those working for the police or the civil service, those living in houses due for demolition, and employees of the handicraft sector.

The scheme includes 22,353 houses in rural areas. The houses will be one storey high and their design will be in keeping with the style and materials typical of the countryside, according to the government.

Mortgages for the properties will also be available at a discounted rate under a government scheme dedicated to low-cost housing.

The scheme, known as Fonds de Garantie pour les Revenus Irreguliers & Modestes, was set up 2005 to help those with low or irregular income. Interest rates under the scheme are about 4 per cent, compared to the market rate of 7-8 per cent.

Morocco has built at least 100,000 affordable homes in each of the last three years, and total mortgage credits in the kingdom now exceed MD100bn, according to the Housing & Equipment Ministry (MEED 23:2:07).