Saudi firm helping Kingdom achieve its affordable housing goals

Saudi firm helping Kingdom achieve its affordable housing goals
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Marwa Ahmed Murad, 4th from right, says MDMS has also been working closely with the National Housing Co. to develop housing projects for Saudi citizens. (Supplied)
Saudi firm helping Kingdom achieve its affordable housing goals
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Marwa Ahmed Murad, Managing Director and Founder, MDMS. (Supplied)
Saudi firm helping Kingdom achieve its affordable housing goals
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Marwa Ahmed Murad, Managing Director and Founder, MDMS. (Supplied)
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Updated 14 March 2021

Saudi firm helping Kingdom achieve its affordable housing goals

Saudi firm helping Kingdom achieve its affordable housing goals
  • MDMS will complete work on the Dar Sumou housing project in Jeddah by 2024

RIYADH: Maximiliano Development Management Services (MDMS), a development company offering interior design, architectural and engineering services, has partnered with the Saudi government on a number of large projects to raise the level of homeownership in the Kingdom.

Headquartered in Riyadh, the company launched into the real estate industry in 2015, specializing in the development of affordable housing. Under Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, the government is aiming to increase homeownership in the Kingdom to 70 percent, up from 45 percent in 2017.

Marwa Ahmed Murad, managing director and founder of MDMS, outlined to Arab News the progress on some of their latest projects. “We have completed and launched the designs for the Dar Sumou project in Jeddah, and it is expected that construction work will be completed and the units will be delivered in 2024,” she said.

“We recently handled the off-plan sales promotional and sales booth for the Dar Sumou project, which displays the design of the 412-unit housing project that highlights the tastes and needs of the community.”

The housing units at Dar Sumou are detached and semi-detached villas, duplexes and townhouses, with sizes ranging from 242 to 357 square meters and key services such as mosques, health centers, schools and recreational green areas.

The Dar Sumou project is part of the Saudi Ministry of Housing’s Sakani program, which aims to help more than 300,000 families by offering subsidized real estate loans for the purchase of prefabricated units, units under construction and constructed units, Murad said.

MDMS has also been working closely with the National Housing Co. to develop housing projects for Saudi citizens.

It has been involved in the Murcia project, one of the largest in Riyadh, which will see the construction of more than 5,000 housing villas and apartments. MDMS is the sales consultant for the first two phases of the Murcia project and has successfully sold 90 percent of the units in phase one. 

FASTFACTS

• The Dar Sumou project is part of the Saudi Ministry of Housing’s Sakani program, which aims to help more than 300,000 families by offering subsidized real estate loans for the purchase of prefabricated units, units under construction and self-constructed units.

• MDMS has also been working closely with the National Housing Co. to develop housing projects for Saudi citizens.

MDMS also handled the engineering, design, construction, marketing and promotion of the Rawas Inn residential project in the north of Yanbu Al-Bahr, resulting in 99 percent of the project units being sold.

The firm carried out marketing and sales for the Al-Wouroud City residential project, one of the biggest residential projects in the Kingdom. Its team is composed mainly of Saudi nationals who are experts in the fields of design, engineering and construction.

“We recently signed an agreement with MSKANK, a reputable housing cooperative society that works to provide housing and services for residential communities,” said Murad. Under the agreement, MDMS will provide full development services for the MSKANK residential projects, including planning, design, land development and all marketing and sales services.

MDMS is looking forward to continuous growth and is focused on strengthening the company so that it may be recognized in the region for its design, engineering and construction projects.

Murad noted that real estate is one of the most important forms of support for other sectors, especially “the huge projects that the Kingdom is working on, such as the Red Sea and Qiddiya projects, and the large housing projects across the country that the Ministry of Housing is working on developing.”

According to a report by the US-Saudi Business Council, homeownership in Saudi Arabia is one of the key initiatives of Vision 2030 and saw record growth during 2020 amid the pandemic. The number of new residential mortgages for individuals in 2020 totaled SR 136.2 billion ($37.09 billion), outpacing 2019 levels by 83 percent, the report said.

The number of families moving into homes through the Sakani affordable housing program grew 27 percent year-on-year and benefited 138,300 families. These positive shifts were borne out of recent regulatory and financial developments that have aided in the expansion of affordable housing options for Saudis.


Saudi MoF electronically linked to SAMA

Saudi MoF electronically linked to SAMA
Updated 18 June 2021

Saudi MoF electronically linked to SAMA

Saudi MoF electronically linked to SAMA

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) announced the completion of an electronic link with the Ministry of Finance to process requests relating to the bank accounts of government agencies held at Saudi commercial banks through the online portal Hesaab.

SAMA is seeking to improve and accelerate the procedures related to requests of government agencies’ bank accounts received from the Ministry of Finance, by implementing technical solutions with minimal human intervention, it said in a statement on Thursday.

The Hesaab portal is one of the National Transformation Program 2020 initiatives that improves the level of financial services, in line with Vision 2030.


Oil falls amid dollar strength; demand picture still bullish

Oil falls amid dollar strength; demand picture still bullish
Updated 18 June 2021

Oil falls amid dollar strength; demand picture still bullish

Oil falls amid dollar strength; demand picture still bullish
  • Prices remain close to multi-year highs
  • Dollar jumped since Fed moved rate-hike forecast forward

LONDON: Oil prices fell for a second straight session on Friday as the US dollar soared on the prospect of interest rate hikes in the United States, but they were on track to finish the week little changed and only slightly off multi-year highs.
Brent crude futures were down 64 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $72.44 a barrel as of 9:00 a.m. GMT, extending a 1.8 percent decline on Thursday. The contract is set to be largely steady for the week.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 53 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $70.51 a barrel, after retreating 1.5 percent on Thursday and is also set to be flat on the week.
On Wednesday, Brent settled at its highest price since April 2019 while WTI settled at its highest since October 2018.
“Oil markets retreated sharply overnight as a stronger US dollar and falling commodity prices elsewhere saw the overbought technical correction continue,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
The dollar has rocketed in the two sessions since the US Federal Reserve projected possible rate hikes in 2023, earlier than market watchers previously expected. A rising dollar makes oil more expensive in other currencies, curbing demand.
The prospect of rate hikes also weighed on the longer-term growth outlook, which would eventually hurt oil demand, in contrast to the near-term outlook for growth in demand as COVID-19 related curbs on movement and business activity ease and road and air travel pick up, said Westpac senior economist Justin Smirk.
“The near term’s all very positive. The question is how much further can it rise, how much scope is there if you’re looking at an environment where interest rates are going to rise,” Smirk said.
Oil prices also fell after Britain on Thursday reported its biggest daily rise in new cases of COVID-19 since Feb. 19, with government figures showing 11,007 new infections versus 9,055 a day earlier.
Adding to negative sentiment were remarks from Iran’s top negotiator on Thursday saying talks between Tehran and Washington on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have come closer than ever to an agreement.


Saudi listed company debt jumped by half in 2020

Saudi listed company debt jumped by half in 2020
Updated 18 June 2021

Saudi listed company debt jumped by half in 2020

Saudi listed company debt jumped by half in 2020
  • Debt-to-asset ratio of Saudi companies ended 2020 at 20.1 percent

RIYADH: The debts of companies listed on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock exchange, excluding real estate funds, increased by 45 percent last year as they borrowed to face down the pandemic and took advantage of low interest rates.

Debt reached SR1.3 trillion ($346 billion) at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, up from SR899.2 billion a year earlier, Al Eqtisadiah reported, citing data from the Tadawul and Saudi Capital Market Authority. On a quarterly basis, debt rose 8.1 percent.

The debt-to-assets ratio of the companies climbed to a record 21.4 percent from 15.8 at the end of 2019, the data showed.

Saudi companies have stepped up bond sales in recent months as the Federal Reserve kept interest rates near record lows.

Saudi Aramco yesterday said it completed a $6 billion dollar sukuk offering, which takes its bond issuance since 2019 to $26 billion.


Egypt central bank holds interest rates for fifth straight month

Egypt central bank holds interest rates for fifth straight month
Updated 18 June 2021

Egypt central bank holds interest rates for fifth straight month

Egypt central bank holds interest rates for fifth straight month
  • Lending rate kept at 9.25 percent, deposit rate at 8.25 percent
  • GDP grew at 2.9 percent in Q1, up from 2 percent in Q4, 2020

CAIRO: The Monetary Policy Committee of Egypt’s Central Bank (CBE) kept its deposit rate at 8.25 percent on Thursday and its lending rate at 9.25 percent, the fifth consecutive month it left them unchanged.

Global economic activity is recovering, albeit unevenly across sectors and countries, and supportive financial conditions are likely to continue globally in the medium term, the central bank said in a statement.

Policy makers noted the rise in global prices of oil, food and other primary commodities as supply struggled to keep up with surging demand.

Egypt’s annual general urban inflation rate rose to 4.8 percent in May 2021 from 4.1 percent in April.

The central bank, which has a target inflation rate of 7 percent, plus or minus 2 percent, through the fourth quarter of 2022, expects inflation to continue to reflect base effects from last year when the pandemic suppressed prices.

Preliminary data indicate annual real GDP growth of 2.9 percent during the first quarter of 2021, up from 2 percent in the prior quarter.


Spanish movie studio Minimo to invest $250m in Saudi joint venture

Spanish movie studio Minimo to invest $250m in Saudi joint venture
Updated 18 June 2021

Spanish movie studio Minimo to invest $250m in Saudi joint venture

Spanish movie studio Minimo to invest $250m in Saudi joint venture
  • Minimo VFX will open a headquarters in Riyadh in early 2022
  • Minimo helped produce The Dark Knight, Avatar and Harry Potter

RIYADH: Spanish film studio Minimo VFX plans to invest $250 million in the Saudi market through a joint venture with a local company, said CEO Felix Balbas.

“Our partnership with the Saudi Next Level Co. consists of opening a regional headquarters in Riyadh and localizing the film content industry, as well as training Saudis and empowering them globally,” Felix told Asharq on Thursday.

Minimo was involved in the production of films including The Dark Knight, Avatar, The Mission, Doom, and Harry Potter.

It will begin operations in Riyadh in early 2022 with a team of about 45 employees, offering production, logistical and advisory services for visual effects, long and short films, television shows and advertisements, he said.

Filmmaking and the screening of films is a recent phenomenon in the Kingdom after Saudi Arabia allowed the opening of cinemas in 2018.