New initiatives to support Saudi real estate sector

A new building being constructed in Saudi Arabia. (AN photo)
Updated 13 January 2017
0

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.


Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank forced to close by US sanctions

Updated 19 September 2019

Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank forced to close by US sanctions

  • Jammal Trust Bank is accused of helping to fund the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon
  • The bank has 25 branches in Lebanon and representative offices in Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Britain

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Jammal Trust Bank has been forced to wind itself down after being hit last month by US sanctions for allegedly helping to fund the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, the bank said on Thursday.
The central bank said the value of the bank’s assets, and its share of the national deposit guarantee body, were “in principle enough to pay all deposits and commitments.”
Jammal Trust Bank denied the US allegations in August after the bank and its subsidiaries were hit with sanctions, accused of helping to fund the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.
“Despite its sound financial situation ... and its full compliance with banking regulations, the (bank) was forced to take the decision to liquidate itself in full coordination with the central bank,” Jammal Trust said in a statement.
The bank has 25 branches in Lebanon and representative offices in Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Britain, its website says.
It is a relatively small lender, with net assets of 1,600 billion Lebanese pounds ($1 billion) at the end of 2017, according to the annual report on the latest year for which data is available.
Washington has sought to choke off Hezbollah’s funding worldwide, with sanctions among a slew of steps against Tehran since US President Donald Trump withdrew last year from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran.