RIYADH: The outstanding balance of real estate loans provided by Saudi banks grew by 33 percent in 2021 year-on-year, according to latest figures released by the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA.
The total value of real estate loans to individuals increased by 41.5 percent year-on year, to SR446 billion ($119 billion) in 2021, while loans given to corporate clients increased by 8.7 percent over the same period.
Retail loans constituted 78 percent of real estate loans provided by banks in 2021 as part of the Housing Realization Program under Saudi Vision 2030 with a set target to increase home ownership for citizens to 70 percent by 2030.
According to London-based economist Mohamed Ramady: “The outstanding mortgage bank finance for the retail sector which comprises houses, apartments, and land, stood at SR445.7 billion as of the last quarter of 2021.”
What is also noticeable, according to Ramady, are the steady monthly mortgage financing in the first quarter of 2022 reaching a high of SR15.2 billion in March, underlying the government commitment for private housing under the vision 2030 program.
The initiative under Vision 2030 includes providing mortgage guarantees to support applicants in remote areas and retirees and other groups who have little access to funds because of banks’ lending restrictions. It also includes a subsidy program for beneficiaries aged 45 and above on their first housing repayment.
According to a study by Deloitte, a further attempt by the government to increase affordable housing supply was made by providing a boost to mortgage-backed securities to investors in recent years. This was in the form of provision through the creation of the Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company, a subsidiary of the Saudi Public Investment Fund back in 2017.