Shared houses, rooftop sleeping, bus accommodations, graves, and various other forms of makeshift shelters have become an everyday sight in Iran due to poverty. Purchasing a house has turned into a bitter joke, forcing families to rent small apartments at exorbitant prices. These costs account for more than 70% of their living expenses.
The responsibility for this dire situation lies with the housing mafia controlled by members of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and their relatives, as well as state-owned banks that profit greatly from this business. The state-run news agency ISNA reported that rental prices have skyrocketed to the point where multiple families in major cities are sharing a single property. The escalating prices in Iran’s housing market have become a tragic phenomenon. Additionally, the strange occurrence of banks owning over 3,000 vacant houses adds to the crisis.
Surprisingly, the advisor to the Minister of Housing confirmed the banks’ dominance in the housing market, stating that the low production of housing and the significant gap between supply and demand are at the root of the problem. It is no wonder that people suffer from such a severe housing crisis while the regime officials choose to ignore and hide the main cause.
Interestingly, he claimed that out of the one million identified vacant houses, 700,000 units have been allocated, and the rest are in the process of being assigned. He further stated that 500,000 residential units have been sold or rented, or are occupied by their owners, while another 200,000 owners have determined the conditions of their houses. The remaining properties are unoccupied and must be rented out. Statistics show that there are 3,000 properties in the country, with each owner having approximately 100 houses, most of which are owned by three banks.
In a ridiculous attempt to appease tenants, he promised that owners would only be allowed to increase the rent by 25%. However, the housing sector is now facing a new recession due to the increased production costs, decreased purchasing power of the people, and the country’s macroeconomic conditions, which have led to stagnation in the housing market. According to the regime’s experts, there is currently a demand for 5.5 million residential units, which has prevented the housing market from achieving price equilibrium.
One of the major corrupt organizations responsible for this crisis is the Yas Economic Holding, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards Cooperative Foundation. Disputes between different factions of the regime have revealed that this holding embezzled over eight trillion tomans from Tehran’s municipality.
Media outlets close to the IRGC have made extensive efforts over the past four years to absolve Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the current speaker of the regime’s parliament, Hossein Taeb, the Chief of the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence, Mohammad Ali Jafari, the former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, and Qasim Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force, of their involvement in corruption cases.
In 2017, Rouhani’s government’s Ministry of Housing signed a contract with the Khatam al-Anbiya Camp to complete the construction of the Mehr housing project, aiming to generate substantial profits. However, years have passed, and the project remains unfinished. The regime’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, now ludicrously promises the construction of one million housing units annually.
Hassan Mohtasham, a member of the board of directors of the Association of Mass Builders of Tehran province, laments that governments have never been able to provide adequate housing to the people. He predicts that the Mehr housing project will suffer the same fate due to a lack of proper planning and infrastructure. Even after 15 years since its inception, only 13% of the housing units promised by Mehr have been realized.
Despite the Central Bank of the regime releasing statistics on housing market developments five months ago, prices continue to increase daily. The regime’s attempts to control prices by censoring statistics have not only failed, but have also led to accusations of concealment. The housing market interprets this as the government’s attempt to cover up the rising prices, further exacerbating the price growth. Currently, the price per square meter of housing has reached 60 million tomans and is expected to rise even further.