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.”


Saudi minister calls on worshippers to respect safety measures in mosques

Updated 23 min 13 sec ago

Saudi minister calls on worshippers to respect safety measures in mosques

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's minister of Islamic affairs called on Muslims to respect ongoing preventative measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) inside mosques as the Kingdom eases some restrictions.

Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said worshipers should bring their own prayer mats, wear masks and wash their hands prior to coming to the mosque to ensure the safety of other worshippers. 

Al-Asheikh said preventative measures will remain in place to ensure a safe return of worshipers to mosques for Friday prayers from May 31 until June 20, except in Makkah. 

Worshippers must keep two meters apart and leave a row of space empty between each row, he said.

The minister said the elderly and children under 15 should continue to avoid going to the mosque. 

The instructions follow other announcements in the Kingdom relaxing aspects of the lockdown, including reducing curfews and allowing freer movement of people.