Saudi Arabia

Housing ... a major issue that requires urgent attention.

Housing ... a major issue that requires urgent attention.

Housing key challenge for kingdom

May 2017

The Saudi government is aiming to provide housing to 52 per cent of its citizens within the next four years. A shortage of affordable housing for a young and growing population of about 21 million citizens is one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest social and economic problems.

The Ministry of Housing has set aside SR59 billion ($16 billion) for the implementation of 21 key initiatives in this regard, according Majed Al Hogail, the housing minister.

As part of its plan to address the housing shortage, Saudi Arabia will offer foreign and local property developers partnership deals in a vast housing construction programme that aims to build 1.5 million homes over the next seven or eight years, said Al Hogail, adding that his ministry is preparing five or six types of partnerships with developers.  

Early this year, the Saudi government launched the ambitious Sakani housing programme, under which it is to hand over 120,000 residences to its citizens across the kingdom. Under the programme, the Ministry of Housing will start allotting homes this year to the most deserving citizens.

The project will be implemented in partnership with the private sector. Apart from these homes, the programme includes 75,000 plots ready for construction, and financial support for 85,000 from the Real Estate Development Fund (RDF) and banks.

Saudi Arabia is also turning to 3D printed construction to expedite its housing plan. In March, leading Chinese 3D printed housing company WinSun said it has reached an agreement with Saudi construction company Al Mobty Contracting Company to lease 100 3D printers and set up a joint venture firm in a deal worth $1.5 billion. With these 3D printers, the Saudi firm will embark on a large-scale project in provide up to 1.5 million affordable homes.

Another major initiative with the Chinese government is for the construction of 100,000 housing units in the Al Ahsa province as well as to help develop the outskirts of Al Asfar province.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Housing in collaboration with the private sector, last year launched the East Gate project which involves the construction of 7,000 villas at an investment of SR4.48 billion ($1.19 billion) in eastern Riyadh. 

Last March, a consortium including Korean group Hanwha Engineering & Construction and leading Saudi builder Saudi Pan Kingdom for Trading, Industry & Contracting (Sapac) won a $20-billion project to build 100,000 homes in the kingdom. The project, which will be funded by the Saudi government, aims to a new town named Dahiyat Al Fursan, 35 km north from the capital city of Riyadh, to be completed in 2020.

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