New initiatives to support Saudi real estate sector

A new building being constructed in Saudi Arabia. (AN photo)
Updated 13 January 2017
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New initiatives to support Saudi real estate sector

JEDDAH: About 4,000 new residential units entered the Riyadh property market in the fourth quarter of 2016 and a further 25,000 units are expected to be built this year, according to report from JLL.
JLL is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate.
The government took several initiatives to work with the private sector in 2016 in an effort to increase housing supply in Saudi Arabia, the real estate consultancy said in its report — “2016 Year in Review.”
“The government’s major plans to energize the real estate market have resulted in a more positive outlook for 2017 in line with measures to counteract reduced government and consumer spending,” said Jamil Ghaznawi, country head of JLL, Saudi Arabia. 
 In an effort to diversify the economy and open the real estate market to smaller investors, the Capital Market Authority introduced new rules in 2016 allowing the formation of the Real Estate Investment Traded Funds (REITs) on the local stock exchange.
 “The market is optimistic that by introducing REITs, the National Transformation Program’s (NTP) goal to increase real estate contribution to GDP from 5 percent to 10 percent annually will be achieved in addition to creating more transparency in the market,” he said.
 “In addition, these funds could help provide an exit strategy for those developers seeking to create income producing assets rather than developments for sale” commented Jamil Ghaznawi.  
The report also highlights 2016 as an active year for white land tax and home financing which both have implications for the real estate market in 2017 as the changes start to come into effect. 
It said year-on-year rental values for villas and apartments in the Saudi capital fell by 4 percent during the past 12 months, but added that residential performances remained relatively stable in Q4.
In Jeddah, although there were limited notable completions in 2016, the projects which did complete were part of a growing concept of quality lifestyle developments, JLL said.
Around 4,000 units were added to the Riyadh market over the last quarter, with the first half of 2017 expected to see a number of developments enter the market which were delayed from 2016, it added.


Head of Saudi Arabia’s SRC: ‘Ask banks for a mortgage, and we will refinance it’

Updated 25 April 2019
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Head of Saudi Arabia’s SRC: ‘Ask banks for a mortgage, and we will refinance it’

  • SRC CEO Fabrice Susini: One of our key objectives is to ensure that the banks are extending loans to more and more people
  • Extending home-ownership is one of the cornerstones of the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil production

RIYADH: The head of the state-owned Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC) has made an unprecedented offer to the Kingdom’s home-seekers to underwrite future mortgages.
Speaking at the Financial Sector Conference in Riyadh, Fabrice Susini, SRC CEO, told the audience: “Ask them (the banks) for a mortgage, and we will refinance it.”
Although Susini later clarified his remarks to show that he still expected normal standards of mortgage applications to be met, the on-stage show of bravado illustrates SRC’s commitment to facilitate home-ownership in the Kingdom.
“Obviously if you have no revenue, no income, poor credit history, that will not apply. Now if you have a job, it is different. We have people in senior positions at big foreign banks that could not get a mortgage,” he explained.
He said that Saudi banks have traditionally assessed mortgages on the basis of “flow stability” of earnings. Government employees, or those of big corporations like Saudi Aramco and SABIC, found it easy to get mortgages “because you were there for life.”
“One of our key objectives is to ensure that the banks are extending loans to more and more people. The government is pushing for entrepreneurship, private development, private jobs. If you work in the private sector and cannot get a mortgage the next thing you will do is go to the government for a job,” Susini said.
Extending home-ownership is one of the cornerstones of the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil production. Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest rates of mortgage penetration of any G20 country — in single digit percentages, compared with others at up to 50 percent.