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EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani's policy regarding the housing sector revolves around moving away from construction in underdeveloped areas as in the Mehr Housing Plan and supporting distressed urban areas, the minister of roads and urban development said.

"The policy we have pursued in [Rouhani's] government is moving toward first-time homebuyers, therefore out policy is to promote savings for buying a house and support the purchase of first-time homebuyers," Abbas Akhoundi was also reported as saying by ILNA.

Pointing to Social Housing Plan, he added that the next policy is to "follow up the implementation of the scheme in distressed and urban areas instead of building homes in deserts", in reference to the Mehr Housing Plan initiated by the previous administration, which focused on mass construction in remote areas.

The Social Housing Plan is a subcategory of the government's Comprehensive Housing Plan that incorporates programs to provide low-income groups with affordable housing. It covers 3-4 million households and as announced in mid-April by deputy for municipal affairs with the Islamic Revolution Housing Foundation, Javad Haqshenas, it will be implemented in two months "after earmarking its budget," according to Financial Tribune.

The third policy, Akhoundi added, revolves around supporting people living on the outskirts of cities "and people who really need better housing conditions".

The minister reiterated that there are currently 2.587 million empty residential units in the country. He said if the cost of constructing each unit is to average $100,000,this means that more than $250 billion of Iranian capital have been left unused and "wasted away with wrong policies".

Noting that many of these empty units are located in the northern and affluent part of cities, especially Tehran, Akhoundi added that more than 19 million people are living in very poor housing conditions.

"This shows that the wealth of the nation has been used with zero efficiency," he said.

Hassan Rouhani Abbas Akhoundi Iran Housing Policy Iran Housing Iran Urban Renewal