Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation helping to fuel housing market growth

The transformation of the housing sector has boosted the gross domestic product. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 08 October 2020

Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation helping to fuel housing market growth

  • Nearly half-a-million Saudis have benefited from initiatives introduced by the Housing Ministry with more than 250,000 citizens now owning their own homes

JEDDAH: Housing initiatives that form part of Saudi Vision 2030 have contributed greatly to the development of the Kingdom’s property market, but that is not the only factor that has helped to drive the growth, according to officials.

Majed Al-Hogail, the minister of housing and acting minister of municipal and rural affairs, said that the country’s digital transformation has had a remarkable effect on the lives of Saudi citizens, allowing them to perform tasks and transactions online that previously required visits to ministries and government offices. In terms of housing, electronic platforms have greatly simplified the house-buying process, he said.

The transformation of the housing sector has boosted the gross domestic product and strengthened the national economy by raising the level of local participation in the real estate  sector, the minister said. According to ministry figures, home ownership among Saudi citizens has reached 62 percent, while the number of families who rent has fallen to 35 percent.

“The housing program — one of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 programs — has contributed to the stability and happiness of the family through financing and housing solutions and options to enable them to own their first home,” he said. “In addition, the use of electronic platforms and applications has facilitated the family ownership journey through simple steps.”

Al-Hogail said that where the ministry used to lend to 20,000 home buyers each year, it now lends to 20,000 each month. He said the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority had played a major role in the growth of home ownership by reducing the minimum down payment required for property purchases from 30 percent of the purchase price to just 10 percent.

Nearly half-a-million Saudis have benefited from initiatives introduced by the Housing Ministry, he said. More than 250,000 citizens now own their own homes, he added, and 42,000 people a month use Sakani, an online service provided by the Ministry of Housing and the Real Estate Development Fund that helps people across Saudi Arabia find housing options and financing solutions. In addition, SR1.4 billion ($373 million) has been allocated to develop infrastructure for residential projects.

Al-Hogail also highlighted a housing program that aims to help the neediest families, and said the ministry, in partnership with NGOs, had provided 24,000 housing units through contracts worth SR11 billion.

“The neediest families have been supported with proper housing to secure a decent life,” he said. “Moreover, an integrated housing system has been built that works efficiently to serve the citizens, enhance the attractiveness of investment in the real-estate sector, and expand the scope of sustainable partnership in the private sector.”


Saudi women get in the swing for golf glory

Though golf is a relatively new sport in the country, women have been encouraged to take up the game through new opportunities and support provided to them. (Supplied)
Updated 23 min 17 sec ago

Saudi women get in the swing for golf glory

  • Depending on location, players in the scheme will be designated as a Ladies First Member at either Riyadh Golf Club, Dirab Golf Club or King Abdullah Economic City’s Royal Greens Golf & Country Club

JEDDAH: Saudi women are breaking new barriers on the Kingdom’s golf greens, becoming acquainted with the sport and the benefits that come with it.
Though golf is a relatively new sport in the country, women have been encouraged to take up the game through new opportunities and support provided to them.
Golf continues to be a male-dominated sport. Despite women showing huge interest in the game, they are poorly represented in its ranks around the world.
A recently launched sporting initiative will allow women in the Kingdom to learn golf for free. The Aramco Saudi Ladies International, presented by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is a first for the Kingdom. Another project, Golf Saudi’s innovative “Ladies First Club,” will offer complimentary membership, including golf lessons, driving range access and full 18-hole rounds on three different courses.
The offer is open to all Saudi women, with initial membership capped at 1,000. Sarah Al-Arifi, a 26-year-old Saudi entrepreneur, told Arab News that she was excited about the prospect of a Saudi female golf club. Even though the sport is perceived as male dominated globally, sports development is progressing rapidly in the Kingdom and is becoming inclusive, Al-Arifi said. She said the new projects will be “empowering.”
Al-Arifi highlighted the benefits of creating a community for every sport, not only golf, adding that from a consumer’s perspective, it promises to generate creativity.
“Having a community for a specific sport is not only important, it’s necessary because it drives competition and that’s much better for us as consumers. The obvious benefits of a community aside, as a consumer, I want there to be competition because it drives innovation and problem solving,” she said.
Depending on location, players in the scheme will be designated as a Ladies First Member at either Riyadh Golf Club, Dirab Golf Club or King Abdullah Economic City’s  Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.
The Ladies First Club will officially launch during a tournament buildup for the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF.
It will take place between Nov. 12 and 15, two days before the Saudi Ladies Team International, which will see teams of four golfers compete for $500,000 in prize money from Nov. 17 to 19.