Iranian regime outlets have reported a decrease in housing construction in the capital of Iran to “the lowest level in the past 23 years.” A housing expert has also warned about the growth of “shantytown” around Tehran.
In an interview with the state-run Entekhab website published on May 13, Ahmadreza Sarhadi, a housing expert, warned about the phenomenon of “shared houses” and “rooftop sleeping” in Tehran, explaining how people’s incomes cannot provide for their basic necessities, including mortgages.
“Some people cannot even afford to rent a house in the southern neighborhoods of Tehran. Renting a 50-square-meter house in Naziabad [district in southern Tehran] has now reached 1 billion rials ($2,000) [in advance payment] and 100 million rials ($200) [in rent] per month,” said Sarhadi.
It is worth noting that the minimum monthly salary of wage earners in Iran is approximately 80 million rials or $155.
Sarhadi added that if inflation is not controlled in Iran, “the situation will get worse” and “slum neighborhoods will surround the city [of Tehran].”
“Government plans in the housing sector have all failed. The only plan that has been somewhat successful is the ‘Mehr housing plan’, which has provided some people with homes. Other plans have had no output at all,” he further explained.
In an interview with the semiofficial ILNA news agency, Ali Akbar Eywazi, a member of the board of directors of the Retirees’ Association of Tehran Workers, said, “In no part of Tehran is the monthly rent less than 70 or 80 million rials ($140 to $160), provided that at least 2 billion rials ($2,000) are paid as advanced payment.”
The high cost of housing in Iran in recent years has led to an increase in slum dwellers and even people literally sleeping in graveyards, “rooftop sleeping,” and “shared houses.”
Recession in Iran’s Housing Construction
Since Ebrahim Raisi assumed office as president in August 2021, government officials have promised to build four million housing units in Iran within four years. However, over time the Raisi government has backed down from this pledge and now plans to enter some of the already-built houses into the housing market by imposing heavy taxes on vacant houses.
This slowdown in housing construction in Iran comes as the state-run “90 Eghtesadi” website reported on May 14 that housing construction in Tehran has reached “the lowest level in the past 23 years,” according to statistics from the Iranian Statistics Center. According to the report, the number of housing units listed in Tehran’s building permit in the first nine months of 2022 decreased by 8.9 percent compared to the same period last year, reaching 30,038 units.
The statistics also show that the total number of housing units listed in the Tehran building permit in the year 2021 was 44,549, which is the lowest construction rate since 1998.
“The total 12-month construction (from 21 March 2022 to 21 March 2023) will be less than the 23-year period from 1998 to 2021,” the report concluded.
It is worth noting that these statistics are related to last year because the statistical centers in Iran either publish the statistics late or refuse to make them available to the public.
“In Iran’s metropolises, the slum population increases by about four percent each year. However, this figure is less than one percent in other countries across the world. Tehran has a four to five percent increase in slum population every year, which is a disaster. This means that the city will double in size after 20 years,” said Baitullah Satarian, a member of the faculty of Tehran University and an expert in housing economics. Ali Farnam, an expert at the Research Center of the regime’s Majlis (parliament), said, “At the beginning of 2018, the average housing price per square meter was 60 million rials. Today, however, the average price per square meter of a residential unit in Tehran is 600 million rials. The price of housing has increased ten fold in five years.”
In a report, the Rokna news website rejected the government officials’ statistics about housing. “The majority of those who are considered as ‘homeowners’ in the government lists and statistics, ‘not only do not have a house, but with the increase in inflation, will move from the city to the suburbs and slums, and finally to living in a ‘shanty house,’’’ the report reads.
Despite the fact that a significant number of people are becoming homeless or living in extremely poor conditions, the ruling regime in Iran has failed to provide any viable solutions.