City dwellers in Nepal are finding it increasingly hard to afford housing due to rapid price rises in land, according to a new UN-HABITAT report.
The Nepal Housing Profile Study, published jointly with the Ministry of Planning and Physical Works in Nepal, shows that urban land prices had risen by 300 percent since 2003, making housing increasingly out of reach for lower income residents.
Presenting the findings of the study, Ester van Steekelenburg, International Advisor to UN-HABITAT, said that the country was urbanising rapidly due to an expansion of urban areas and high rates of rural-urban migration.
“Though the number of squatters in Nepal is low in comparison to other South Asian countries, the situation is worsening quickly and turning into a serious social predicament,” Ester said. Currently 10 percent of the country’s urban dwellers are squatters, according to the report, but this is expected to rise.
The report also highlighted the need for comprehensive land use policy and planning, as well as the establishment of a rental act as approximately 42 percent of people live in rented accommodation in urban areas, rising to 58 percent in Kathmandu.
Suresh Prakash Acharya, Joint Secretary at the Ministry, said the government was amending the National Shelter Policy 1996, which would help to ensure the quality and sustainability of all housing.