Last Updated: 2012-07-22
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TEHRAN, July 22 (NNN-MNA) -- Transport and Urban Development Minister Ali Nikzad has announced that according to a census conducted in last Iranian calendar year, 1.67 million houses in Iran are empty.

Nikzad said there is no justification that such large number of homes be empty.

The empty houses have put an upward pressure on rental prices in Iran.

For example, there are about 3 million houses in Tehran, of which 328,000 are empty, showing that one in ten houses in the capital is empty.

Many home owners refuse to offer their houses for rent because they are waiting for house prices to go up before they sell.

Renting prices in Teheran have gone up so high that it has prompted the Transport and Urban Development Ministry to introduce a bill to parliament to tax owners of empty houses.

Abolfazl Soumalou, the deputy transport and urban development minister, told the Mehr News Agency that the ministry will soon present a plan to the Majlis Economic Committee to levy taxes on empty houses.--NNN-MNA