Recently, a sharp surge in housing expenses has severely affected Iranian families, intensifying homelessness. Tenants, particularly young couples, are feeling this increase more than others.
According to official statistics, the government’s current policy of economic austerity—touted as an ‘economic surgery’—has raised rents several folds. As a result, many citizens have been forced to live in low-class areas or take refuge in slums, which has caused other social consequences.
How Much Is a Family’s Housing Expenses?
According to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) publications and the ‘Relief Committee’ chief, the poverty line for a family of four is 110 million rials [$345]. This is while the minimum monthly wages for teachers, nurses, and workers only sit at $215, $285, and $150, respectively, based on information from the official IRNA news agency in November 2021.
In recent months, the people’s purchasing power has significantly dropped due to the dramatic devaluation of the national currency rial against foreign currencies, especially the U.S. dollar. Remarkably, Ebrahim Raisi’s cabinet added insult to injury in May with the unprecedented increases in the cost of food staples, including wheat and bread, egg, chicken, and cooking oil.
The Iranian state media, of course, continue to conceal the reality about the people’s living conditions, painting a rosy picture to counter social grievances. Citizens are feeling hardship and pressure with every passing day.
Indeed, the living conditions in Iran are much grimmer than what is being portrayed in fake news. According to the state-backed Supreme Labor Council, a minimum food basket costs at least 90 million rials [$280] for a family of four per month, meaning many people cannot afford their essential needs with official salaries.
Adding to the issues of inadequate pay, many workers, teachers, nurses, retirees, and other low-income strata are yet to receive their salaries after several months, leading them to take to the streets or go on strikes to claim their fundamental rights.
Parliament [Majlis] Research Center chief Babak Negahdari has acknowledged that Iranian families should allocate 60 to 70 percent of their income to housing expenses. Therefore, a family with a $ 350 income should pay $210 to $245 for housing expenses and use the remaining $105 to $140 to afford other expenditures, including food, treatment, and clothing.
According to the Ministry of Cooperation, Labor, and Social Welfare, around 10 million families live below the poverty line. This means that more than 40 million people—nearly half the population—are suffering from acute financial dilemmas.
On March 31, the state-run Tejarat News website wrote, “A few months ago, the Social Security Organization reported that at least 30 percent of Iran’s population live below the poverty line. Unofficial statistics, however, say that this number reaches 50 percent of society, meaning 42 million Iranians.”
The Growing Trend of Housing Expenses
Currently, the average price for one square meter of housing in Tehran has soared by 410 million rials [$1,280]. Economists have stated that it would take 70 years for an employee or a worker to purchase a house if they were to collect their whole salary and not have other expenses, providing that the inflation rate stays flat.
In reality, working families would never be able to own their homes based on the current trend of housing expenses. On July 2, the state-run Setareh-e Sobh daily wrote, “The price of one square meter of housing increased by 35 and 7 percent compared to last year and last month, respectively.”
The daily report also reported that the housing expenses in Iran are quadruple the average costs worldwide, stating, “The housing costs for Iranian families’ product baskets are 60 to 70 percent, while these costs are on average 18 percent worldwide.”
During his presidential campaign, Ebrahim Raisi promised the underprivileged that he would build four million residential units during his four-year presidency. He named the project ‘The National Housing Movement!’. However, he has only specified the location of three million fictional units a year into his tenure.
Instead, the regime president has brought poverty, recession, high prices, starvation, and homelessness to millions of Iranian families. As a notorious mass murderer and ally of the designated Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), Raisi was supposed to help the regime withstand domestic crises and international pressure.
However, systematic corruption, the exhausting of the regime’s ‘strategic assets’, and society’s volcanic situation have backfired on the mullahs. Today, people from different walks of life, particularly those hit the hardest by Raisi’s policies, have repeatedly taken to the streets, chanting, “Death to Raisi” and “Liar Raisi, what happened to your promises?”