In line with the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to provide plots of land and loans for homes to citizens, the Ministry of Housing signed a contract for the first housing project in Riyadh, northwest of King Khaled International Airport along Othman Bin Affan Road.
The SR1.063 billion ($283.5 million) project will be completed by a national company in two years. The project spread on an area of five million square meters will provide developed residential plots of land and lands for multistory buildings. Nearly 7,000 housing units will be built.
The project includes electricity, water, sanitary drainage, and storm-water drainage networks. It will also have a sewage treatment plant besides 18 to 36-meter wide roads, 2.5 meter-8 meter wide pavements, and parks. It will also have four grand mosques and 21 local mosques. The project will include 24 schools for boys and girls and 24 kindergartens. Locations for a number of community centers have been allocated. They will provide a suitable social environment with integrated services and utilities.
The ministry said the bidding for other projects in all regions of the Kingdom will start soon.
Some 60 percent of nearly 20 million Saudis are estimated to live in rented accommodation rather than homes they own, and much of the housing is in poor condition, Mike Williams, head of research at the CBRE property consultancy in Bahrain, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Because of the housing shortage, rising rents have been a major source of inflation; rents nationwide rose 3.7 percent from a year earlier in March, though that was far below a peak of 29.7 percent seen in 2008. Apartment rents in Riyadh jumped 8 percent last year, estimates Jones Lang LaSalle.
The Saudi Gazette