By Eman El Sherbiney

In a highly populated country like Egypt, state bodies have worked closely with real estate developers, as well as the Armed Forces Engineering Authority, to offer diversified and much-needed low and medium-cost residential units to the highly populated country.

Expansions in and around a major city like Cairo has added to the housing crisis, leading to the implementation of a number of affordable housing projects. New cities and affordable housing projects have proven very successful through the years, mainly due to the state’s approaches and partnerships, and have helped to ease Egypt’s housing crisis as well as develop and rebuild slum areas.

The selection process for housing projects depends on certain criteria set by the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) to guarantee equal opportunities, as well as reach the most families by not allowing more than one family member to own a property, and conducting the selection on a lottery basis.

Dar Misr

A Housing Ministry project that is aimed at middle-class citizens was announced in November 2014, with a targeted total number of 150,000 residential units, according to Daily News Egypt.

Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities, Moustafa Madbouly had called on NUCA to speed up the project, and to hand in the first units by July 2016. The most expensive units of the project are located in New Cairo, and cost EGP 637,500 for 150 square meters, while the cheapest units are in Sadat City, and cost EGP 225,000 for 100 square meters.

Dar Misr will also include units in 6th of October, Shorouk, 10th of Ramadan, Obour, and Badr cities.

The Social Housing Project

Another NUCA low-income project is taking place in 22 cities, with a total of 348,492 units to be built.  Each unit will be 90 square meters. So far, 49,012 units have been completed in 18 new cities, according to the government’s New Cities website.

It has been reported that the total down payments to reserve spots in the project have reached EGP 1.8 billion since April 23rd, according to Al Mal.

Al Asmarat Housing Project

To tackle the longstanding issue of slums, , Cairo Governorate along with Slum Development Fund, allocated EGP 850 million for the first phase of Al Asmarat housing project in Moqattam.  This project is aimed at slum areas residents who have been stricken by deteriorating geological changes, such as Al Dweiqa, Mansha’et Nasser and Dar El Salam.  Units will be rented out by the governorate to the residents, Al Ahram reported.

The first phase will provide 173 buildings, each six stories, with six units on each floor, which offers a total of 6,258 residential units, according to the Slum Development Fund press statement.

The total number of areas deemed unsafe in Cairo reached 72, to which the Slum Development Fund has allocated a total of EGP 2.2 billion.

The total number of units to be delivered are 16,000 over three phases. The project is rendered the biggest in the Moqattam area. Part of the project funds are allocated for services and amenities, such as schools, healthcare units, playgrounds, and emergency services. The opening of Al Asmarat will take place in June of this year, and will mark the first housing project in slum areas in Egypt.

The project which already opened will develop an additional 156 hazardous areas at a cost of EGP 8.9 billion in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016/2017. In FY 2017/2018, the fund will develop 123 hazardous areas at a cost of EGP 6.8 billion.

Badr City Development Project

Within the state’s inclusive plan to develop new cities and social housing program, 17,000 residential units have been built in Badr City, within the past year and a half. An additional 19,000 units have been completed since the establishment of Badr City, according to Daily News Egypt.

The city had gotten major attention within the last two years, after EGP 1.1 billion were injected into the development of the city, Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Development Moustafa Madbouly said, adding that NUCA is working on implementing new projects and developing old districts in the city.

Affordable housing projects have proven effective across the country, to the extent that entire new communities have been built, such as the social housing units of 6th of October City. The number of available units as a result of these projects does not yet fill the need; however it marks the intention of moving in the right direction.