Searching for a rent house in Erbil.
Finding a rent house is one of the most difficult problems young couples face in Erbil city due to lack of affordable residential units.Dyar Muhammad, 25, and his fiance, Shilan Anwar, were visiting one neighborhood after another, looking to find a rent house. They found plenty of houses for sale, but very few houses for rent.Recently engaged, the two plan to marry next month. But ahead of organizing the wedding party, they need to rent a house. Before they began their search, they did not realize how difficult this would be. "I thought asking Shilan's father for his daughter's hand would be the most difficult thing. But actually finding a rent house is the most difficult thing," said Muhammad. "I have been looking for a rent house for four days, and I still haven't found one."Muhammad and Anwar seek a house not very far from the city center and close to their workplace. At the beginning, they began looking in a neighborhood very close to their workplace, with no luck. "We went to all the real-estate offices in the Bakhtyari neighborhood, but they did not have any houses for rent," said Anwar.After finding disappointment in the Bakhtyari neighborhood, they went to other neighborhoods far from their working place.Muhammad and Anwar visited about 17 real-estate offices in Salahadin, Minara, and Nusaran quarters. There were only very few houses for rent, but they were either very expensive or the landlords chose only to rent to companies."The houses were between US$700 to US$1,000 a month, and I want to rent a house between US$350 to US$400," said Muhammad. Both he and his fiance are school teachers with monthly salaries of US$500.Mam Ali, who runs a real-estate business in the Minara neighborhood, told "The Kurdish Globe" that there are very few houses for rent in the neighborhood, and landlords want to rent to companies because they can pay higher monthly rents. Ali pointed out that with Erbil's booming economy, the number of companies is increasing every day, and those companies need offices. Muhammad and Anwar-becoming increasingly impatient--walked through neighborhoods and asked people on the streets and shopkeepers about rental houses. A woman on the street buying fruit said she knew an elderly woman who wanted to rent her house. Muhammad and Anwar visited the woman, named "Aunt Fatima," who at around 65 years of age lives alone in a two-floor house."I live on the first floor and want to rent the second floor," said Aunt Fatima in a very calm voice. "But I will only rent to a family that does not have any children because I am old--I don't want any noise," she added. After Muhammad explained to the woman that they do not have any children, she agreed to rent them the house.A survey conducted by the Kurdistan Institution for Political Issues (KIPI), released on January 13, showed that the cost of housing in the region is people's No. 1 cause for concern. The survey was carried out in the three provinces of the Kurdistan region, Erbil, Suleimaniya, and Duhok. Twenty-four percent said housing is their main problem, with similar but smaller numbers focusing on the inflating cost of goods and services, poor electricity supplies, and unemployment. Compared to the average salaries of residents in Kurdistan, housing is heavily overpriced. There is a lack of small, affordable residential units for young people. There is a need for planned developments of different sizes and price ranges that are accessible for people with different income levels.
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