Forms of OwnershipProperty ownership is highly emphasized among Palestinians for a range of reasons. Real estate has traditionally been a favoured form of investment throughout the Middle East. Moreover, in the occupied territories there is a lack of alternative targets for investment and uncertainties about the future place an additional break on investment. Additionally, fathers have been under obligation to provide a house for their sons upon marriage. 24% of the households report that they have taken up loans to finance house construction. House construction is the second most important reason reported for household indebtedness. The first is support of daily consumption.
In the occupied territories there are few credit institutions which extend loans or mortgages for house building. Consequently, the extended family continues to be a principle financial base for construction although survey data suggests that loans from individuals who are not kin might be playing an increasing role in house financing, particularly in Arab Jerusalem. Nonetheless, because financial resources mobilized through kin groups or personal relations are usually fairly limited, this form of financing has clear implications for the quality of the housing stock and the size of units constructed.
Table 3.10 Forms of ownership by type of locality
The nature of house ownership varies with locality, indicating in part the differential availability of land for construction in the areas concerned and in part a trend toward a more fragmented family structure with urbanisation (table 3.10).
Survey data on forms of ownership is both complex, rich and merits a detailed
study. A full consideration of this issue has not been possible within the
confines of this baseline report. However, it should be noted that UNRWA
housing is probably even more widespread in the camps than indicated by
these figures since many refugees regard the homes they have leased from
UNRWA for several generations as their own and may report them as such.
However, there are notable regional variations which partly relate to the impact of urbanisation on family structure.
Table 3.11 Kinship relations between households in multi-household buildings