RIYADH: Real estate deals worth more than SR10 billion ($2.66 billion) were signed on the opening day of an industry gathering in Saudi Arabia.
The cooperation memorandums and agreements were inked at the second edition of the Real Estate Future Forum in Riyadh, which is being held from Jan. 23 to 25.
The deals were focused on real estate development and construction techniques, and the establishment of four investment funds to develop commercial, tourism and residential projects.
The event was opened by the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing Majed bin Abdullah Al-Hogail, who used his inaugural speech to emphasize the importance the real estate sector has in the government’s development plans for the economy, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
He said that the forum will deal with 10 strategic areas, including the role of regions, governorates, ministries and secretariats in harmonizing the empowerment of the real estate sector, and regional efforts and their impact on the growth of the real estate sector in the region.
More than 150 speakers from the Kingdom and abroad are set to address the forum, as well as an exhibition of 60 participating pavilions.
A report from S&P Global published in December set out Saudi Arabia’s real estate ambitions as part of its Vision 2030 program for economic diversification.
According to the report, the Kingdom has $1 trillion slated for real estate and infrastructure projects, with at least eight new cities planned predominantly along the coast of the Red Sea.
The government is also working to ensure that home ownership among Saudi families increases to 70 percent by 2030.
Riyadh is also earmarked to become one of the 10 largest cities in the world, as its population is projected to exceed 15 million by 2030 from around 8 million.
On the business side, the report said: “Growing demand for office space has been supported by the post-COVID recovery and government-led economic stimulus. The surge in office leases is being driven by demand from abroad; the Ministry of Investment reported 9,400 new licenses issued to foreign companies in Q1 2022, about 19x the previous year.”
It went on to say that average office rents have been “steadily growing”, especially as tenants switch to prime offices.
“We expect this positive momentum to continue amid strong occupancy rates and limited new additions in the next three years,” stated the report.