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Iran seeks foreign funds for $1.2 bln housing plans

TEHRAN, May 2 (Reuters) - Iran, facing a severe housing shortage, is to invite foreign investors to bid for construction projects worth $1.2 billion, the official news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday.

It quoted Housing and Urban Development Minister Ali Abdolalizadeh as saying that 2,200 international companies and 2,500 local firms had been invited to a seminar in October in Tehran where the projects will be presented.

``Iranian companies are not entitled to any special exemptions or subsidies and have to compete with their international counterparts,'' Abdoalizadeh said.

The report gave no further details of the projects.

The two-day seminar, Iran's first international meeting on housing investment, is due to open on October 17, IRNA said.

Iran faces a shortage of 1.5 million housing units and the figure is estimated to increase to 10 million over the next five years as the huge youth population enters the housing market, according to reports published by newspapers.

More than 60 percent of Iran's population of 63 million people are under the age of 25.


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