Saudi citizens already own 50% of the land needed for the country's national housing scheme, according to Tarek Ali Fadaak, a member of the Shoura Council's housing and services committee.
He said more than 2.5 million plots were distributed to citizens in the past. The country needs an estimated 4.6 million houses, said Fadaak, in a statement quoted by a local Arabic daily.
"A huge number of plots have been granted to the people. We hope that each family can own a suitable house," he said.
Dispelling citizens' fears about the mortgage law, he said financing issues in the Kingdom were being handled with extreme care to avoid usury (Riba), which is unlawful in Islam.
In a lecture delivered at the recently concluded Jeddah Economic Forum, Fadaak said the country has to build 143,000 houses a year to meet demand.
He commended the 500,000-unit housing project ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, and praised the launch of the Real Estate Development Fund facility that provides loans of up to SR 500,000 for individuals looking to buy a house.
"The fact that this year's forum focused on housing shows the importance of the problem. The discussion showed a collective acknowledgement from every corner that the issue needs to be tackled as early as possible," said Asya Al-Ashaikh, founder and CEO of Tamkeen.
Meanwhile, Jeddah Mayor Hani Abu Ras said the municipality's system of distributing housing plots to citizens was transparent and fair. He added that the applications for housing plots in 1997 created some difficulties because that year there were 150,000 applications. From then, there have only been about 10,000 applications a year.