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 rights body signs deal to launch programs for prisoners’ rights

Updated 58 min 21 sec ago

Saudi rights body signs deal to launch programs for prisoners’ rights

  • Al-Awwad said teams from the commission regularly visit prisons and detention facilities to ensure the rights of inmates are protected

RIYADH: Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, president of the Human Rights Commission, on Monday said the Kingdom attaches great importance to the rights of prisoners and provides them with comprehensive care through various rehabilitation programs to help them integrate into society and become productive citizens.

He was speaking at the signing ceremony of three memorandums understanding (MoUs) with the National Committee for Prisoners, their Families, and Ex-Convicts (Tarahum) in Riyadh.

Al-Awwad said teams from the commission regularly visit prisons and detention facilities to ensure the rights of inmates are protected.

He said the commission works with the General Directorate of Prisons to promote prisoners’ rights in line with national regulations and international and regional agreements.

The agreement envisages the establishment of three centers.

The first center will be set up to support alternative punishments; the second center will be dedicated to visual communication between prisoners and their families; and the third will design and implement awareness programs.

Tarahum Secretary-General Turki bin Abdullah Al-Bati said the MoUs will help widen the scope of the committee, which seeks to work for the betterment of society in cooperation with relevant authorities.