Shortage of 1.7m homes claimed

Updated 26 March 2016

Shortage of 1.7m homes claimed

SEOUL/RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and South Korea have signed an agreement to build 100,000 houses over the next 10 years in the north of Riyadh costing SR75 billion.
Housing Minister Majed bin Abdullah Al-Hogail inked the pact with the South Korean Ministry of Land, Transport and Infrastructure in Seoul on Thursday. The agreement includes an exchange of expertise through workshops and conferences. The joint consortium has two major South Korean companies, Daewoo Engineering and Construction Company and Hanwha Engineering and Construction Corporation, with Saudi Pan Kingdom Company.
The houses would be built as part of a residential city over 38 sq. km, 14 km south of King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh. The final agreement will be signed in October in Riyadh.
Meanwhile, Abdullah bin Suaidan, a prominent Saudi real estate businessman and expert, has claimed that there is a shortage of about 1.7 million houses in the Kingdom and 130,000 in Riyadh.
Bin Suaidan, who chairs the Riyadh-based Salman bin Abdullah bin Suaidan Real Estate Group, made this comment in a seminar on the future of real estate as a safe investment in the Kingdom, organized by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday.
He said that while there are 1.3 million units currently available in the market, the vast majority of citizens cannot afford them.
Bin Suaidan said property in the Kingdom remained a safe investment, with stability rather than major growth, despite the fall in oil prices and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen.
“These developments are affecting government’s expenditure, but despite this real estate in the Kingdom is stable and even seeing some growth, although not like before.”
He said he would advise investors to place their money in the Kingdom rather than Egypt, UAE or Turkey.
Commenting on the government’s decision to impose a tax on vacant land, he said this decision would not affect the price of real estate. This was because the government has declared that the tax was not a punitive measure, but aimed at bringing balance to the market and solving the housing shortage. “We don’t believe that the government has imposed this tax to harm around 130 stakeholders in the sector.”


Pentagon chief visits Saudi Arabia as tensions simmer with Iran

Updated 21 October 2019

Pentagon chief visits Saudi Arabia as tensions simmer with Iran

  • The visit comes days after Pentagon said it was bolstering its forces in the Kingdom amid tensions with Iran
  • In October, the Pentagon said it was deploying new US troops to Saudi Arabia following attacks on Saudi oil plants

RIYADH: US Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday, with tensions simmering between the United States and Iran, and Russia seeking to increase its regional influence.
Al-Ekhbariyah television gave no details on the previously unannounced visit, which comes after Esper visited Afghanistan.
Esper is likely to meet King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his first trip to the key Middle East ally since he took office this summer, a visit intended partly to reassure Riyadh over bilateral ties.

US-Iran tensions have risen to new highs since May 2018, when the Trump administration withdrew from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran that put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of sanctions.
The United States has deployed military forces to Saudi Arabia to bolster the Kingdom’s defenses after an attack on oil sites last month.
The Sept. 14 attack knocked out two major processing facilities of state oil giant Aramco in Khurais and Abqaiq, roughly halving Saudi Arabia’s oil production.
Washington condemned the attacks as a “act of war” but neither the Saudis nor the United States have overtly retaliated.

Esper said that two fighter squadrons and additional missile defense batteries were being sent to Saudi Arabia, bringing to about 3,000 the total number of troops deployed there since last month.
Despite the additional troops, there are questions about the US commitment to allies in the region after Trump announced a sudden withdrawal from northeastern Syria, opening the door for Russia to increase its influence in the Middle East.
A senior US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States still wanted to be seen as the partner of choice in the region and Russia was not as dependable, whether it be the level of training or the military equipment it can provide.
President Vladimir Putin signalled Moscow’s growing Middle East clout last week on his first visit to Saudi Arabia in over a decade, buoyed by Russian military gains in Syria, strong ties with Riyadh’s regional rivals and energy cooperation.
(With Reuters and AFP)