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In the past two years, Egypt's housing prices rose rapidly, especially in the capital, Cairo, the city's busy section of commercial housing prices have been close to 10,000 Egyptian pounds per square meter (1 U.S. dollar = 5.5 Egyptian pounds), almost double than three years ago, and there is no sign of slowing down.
In the capital city of Cairo, for example, the bustling Muhammadiyahin district is about EGP 5,000-7,000 per square meter, and it costs EGP 4,000-5,000 per month to rent a 200-square-meter residence; for a 200-square-meter business room, the rent is EGP 5,000-8,000 per month.
Compared with the world's capitals horizontally, Cairo's absolute house prices are not high, but the average salary of Egypt's national civil servants is only about 500 Egyptian pounds, the income of some of the higher white-collar workers only two or three thousand Egyptian pounds per month, such prices, the ordinary people can not afford.
Because of the high cost of housing, most people choose to rent an apartment or live with their parents, especially young people. 24-year-old Abdou is a graduate of the English Department of the prestigious University of Al-Azhar, now working in a state-owned enterprise, and a part-time job, a monthly income of EGP 2,500, which is quite good among his classmates, but he still can not afford to buy a house. He has to share an apartment with three other friends at a monthly rent of EGP 1,600, which the four of them share equally.
As their financial means increase, some young people are opting for state-funded youth housing projects. These houses are characterized by distance, small size, low price and subsidies. 29-year-old Majid works two jobs at the same time and earns 4,000 or 5,000 Egyptian pounds a month. He bought a 62-square-meter youth apartment in the western suburb of Cairo, "October 6th City", with a down payment of 7,500 Egyptian pounds, monthly payments of only 170 Egyptian pounds, 20 years to pay off, the government subsidy for the total price of the house of 15%. Although it is very inconvenient to go to work, a round trip to be three to four hours, but for the young people want their own houses. For young people, this is one of the few options.
The threshold for buying a home on a commercial loan in Egypt is high, with only those with a monthly income of EGP 2,500 or more being able to apply for a mortgage on a 70 square meter home; and those with a monthly salary of more than EGP 4,000 being able to apply for a mortgage on a 100 square meter home. However, Egypt's monthly income of more than 2,500 Egyptian pounds accounted for only 25% of the total population.
Those who cannot afford to buy or rent a decent house have to live in slums. They are densely populated, full of garbage and epidemics, but they are better than living on the streets.
The ultimate slum is the world-famous "City of the Dead" in Cairo. The "City of the Dead" is actually a cemetery, and it was the custom of the ancient Egyptians that the dead were generally buried near their homes, and the living and the dead were "not separated". Today, due to the overcrowding of Cairo, the high cost of housing, many people can not afford to buy a house, had to live here for free. Cairo has six or seven "City of the Dead", which is inhabited by more than 1 million people.
After its re-election in the 2009 general elections, the Indian Congress Party-led coalition government stated that it wanted to make slums inhabited by tens of millions of people disappear within five years, with the former occupants moving to newly built cheap high-rise housing with property rights. However, it is feared that the Government will face more than just housing problems to achieve this ambitious goal.
India's slum population grew from 27.9 million in 1981 to 61.8 million in 2001, according to government statistics. More than half of Mumbai's population lives in makeshift shacks and two- or three-story simple concrete houses. As the price of housing in Mumbai is so expensive that it can be ranked among the top ten in the world, with the price of the most expensive part of the city ranging from $7,000 to $14,000 per square meter, many white-collar workers are forced to live in the slums.
College graduate Devendra Tanko lives in one such slum. Two years ago, he secured a position at JP Morgan, an American investment bank. "In terms of income, we are considered middle class, but not in terms of living conditions. Housing prices are so high now that the working class and those with small businesses can't afford it. You work hard to save money, but you can't keep up with the rise in house prices," he said.
Mumbai, a real estate company deputy director Ashutush Limaye said, even slums, housing prices have risen in recent years, such as the so-called Asia's largest slums Dharavi slums, the cheapest house per square meter to 6,700 U.S. dollars or so, known as the "five-star slums". Today, Dharavi slum center Avenue has appeared on both sides of several jewelry stores, banks and restaurants for the middle class.
As an election promise, the government of Maharashtra, to which Mumbai belongs, plans to build 3.2 million houses, of which 1 million are for slum dwellers and the rest for homeless families. But the construction of affordable housing, led by government agencies, has been slow. Last year, the Madhya Pradesh Real Estate Development Authority built only 1,239 apartments.
According to government data, 200,000 such apartments have been built in Mumbai since 1977, yet many of the houses that were supposed to be allocated to the poor have been resold. The Bombay High Court has recommended that the government set up an independent regulator to investigate and manage the situation.
In addition, slum upgrading involves employment for many people. Landless farmers from all over the country flock to Mumbai to work in the slums in industries such as garment making, leather, pottery, toys and recycling of garbage, with an annual trade of up to $650 million.
Tailor Avtar? Khan is a typical example of a slum smallholder. He came here from Uttar Pradesh 20 years ago, almost penniless. But now he has hired dozens of young men, all from his hometown, to stitch 150 pieces of children's clothing a day. The place where they eat, sleep and work is the second floor of a small building in the Dharavi slum, which can only be accessed by ladders and ropes. The apprentices earn 200 rupees a day - four times the salary in rural Uttar Pradesh.
For small businessmen like them, the slum upgrading project has hit them hard, provoking a lot of protests. "If the government really wants to solve the slum problem, it needs to address not only the housing and infrastructure issues, but more importantly, provide jobs to these poor people."