Saudi government approves residential development near Jeddah

A 31,000,000 m² housing project near Jeddah has been given last week the go ahead.  Saudi Government officials have approved a new development near the western Red Sea port of Jeddah. Saudi government developping residentials near Jeddah is perhaps one of the first operations that could be seen as announcing a long awaited change in the government’s housing policies.

“The project involves construction of villas, north of Jeddah, and housing units in the south,” Mohammed bin Obaid Al Baqmi, a spokesman for Jeddah Municipality Secretariat told Al Eqtisadiah.

But the planned Scheme will only go part of the way in tackling the housing crisis in Jeddah, according to real estate committee member from Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abdullah Al Balwi.

“Applications for houses far surpass the expected supply from this project,” said Al Balwi.

“The housing requirements currently need at least 70 million square meters of land.”

Historically, Saudi Arabia has the biggest oil exports revenues and reserves in the world but despite its multibillion-dollar budget surpluses of the recent past and despite its ambitious economic cities, its development plans were though quite fairly advanced never in response to the masses of its populations requirements.

In Saudi Arabia, developers have always had a leaning towards building luxury housing.  This would mean a serious shortage of affordable homes for the rapidly increasing low and middle-income population

The country has unashamedly up until recently gone to a large extent for luxury waterfront villas and gated communities that cater to a small percentage of the Saudi population.  Recent research findings found that a growing percent of people are suffering from a housing shortage that is getting worse.  Analysts and government agencies never agreed on the extent of the housing to be developed, but both public and private sources seem to agree on an annual number of 200,000 homes.