Property news - Angola plans steps to curb real-estate prices

LISBON (Reuters) - Oil-rich Angola is planning steps to bring down Luanda real-estate prices, driven to records by a lack of building materials, investor interest and soaring population growth, a government official said.

Urban and Environment deputy minister Mota Liz said housing prices in the world's most expensive city for expatriates were becoming unsustainable for ordinary citizens and that the government would build new houses to satisfy demand.

He also said new fiscal measures would be introduced to bring down house prices in a city where a one-bedroom apartment can easily cost $5,000 per month.

"The level of speculation in real estate prices in Luanda is very worrying and makes the life of citizens able to pay low rent very difficult," Mota Liz was cited by state-owned Jornal de Angola as saying on Friday.

Luanda was built to accommodate 500,000 people but has over 5 million inhabitants. The surge in its population is explained by the return from the countryside after a mass exodus during the southwestern African nation's 27-year civil war.

The housing shortage is made worse by a lack of raw materials for construction projects and huge demand for luxury housing from investors.

Rock star Bob Geldof recently criticized Angola's government for building luxury houses that were more expensive than those in some of London's most prestigious neighbourhoods while two-thirds of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

The average selling price per square meter in Luanda is between $5,000 and $7,000, with premium space in a prime location going as high as $10,000 per square meter, according to a recent study by Macquarie First South Securities.

Some analysts say the cost of housing in Luanda is expected to come down in coming years with the completion of new apartment buildings in the city centre and lower construction costs as Angola produces more cement locally.

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