Burma to Build 1 Million Houses in 20 Years

By May Sitt Paing 10 January 2013

The Burmese government will build more than one million houses nationwide over the next 20 years to satisfy unmet demand for real estate, the Ministry of Construction has announced.

Myint Naing, director of the ministry’s Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development (DHSHD), said about 7,000 houses were currently built in Burma each year, but the country’s population required more than 20,000 houses annually.

“The DHSHD will lend a hand, both legally and financially, to build more houses and reduce their prices,” he said at a press conference in Rangoon on Tuesday.

The housing project would be split into five-year periods, with DHSHD building an average of 50,000 houses annually, he said.

The government would work with private investors to develop major population centers, he said, while DHSHD would use government loans to implement the project in other areas.

He said Rangoon, which is Burma’s biggest city, would receive 50,000 new houses from the project.

However, other officials cautioned that it would take time to reduce real estate prices.

“We can’t assume that a house currently worth 20 million kyat [US $23,500] will be available for 10 million kyat in the future,” said Aye Aye Myint, deputy director of the Urban and Regional Planning Department. “Selling prices will depend on construction costs.”

Aye Aye Myint said construction costs had increased from about 4,000 kyat previously for one square foot of development to more than 10,000 kyat, largely because building materials were becoming more expensive.

“The government also needs land to build on,” she said, adding that DHSHD would consult with officials from respective states and regions to acquire property.

Myint Naing said the housing project would initially focus on fixing up current units.

“Many existing homes need to be renovated because they’re outdated and not suitable for living anymore,” he said.

To continue the discussion on housing development, technicians from the ministry will join the Myanmar Engineering Society, the Association of Myanmar Architects, the Myanmar Construction Entrepreneurs Association, and domestic and foreign companies during a conference in Rangoon on Jan. 20-21.