By Andy Sambidge، Tuesday, 10 May 2011 6:57 PM
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. (Getty Images)
King Abdullah has approved designs for thousands of new housing units he has ordered to be built in different provinces in Saudi Arabia.
A number of royal decrees issued in March called for 500,000 low-cost housing units, costing SR250bn, to be established to solve the country’s housing problem.
The king on Monday saw models and maps of the projects while Housing Minister Shuwaish Al-Duwaihi briefed the king on the cost, Saudi daily Arab News reported on Tuesday, citing the Saudi Press Agency.
King Abdullah signed off the designs, giving them initial approval, it added.
The General Housing Authority has started implementing 35 projects comprising 15,000 housing units in various parts of the kingdom.
“The ministry will hand over the first units of this housing project very soon,” Al-Duwaihi said, adding that the projects would be carried out quickly.
Demand for housing in Saudi Arabia is pushing the price of property up by as much as 60 percent in the first half, as the kingdom fights bring more supply online, new data shows.
According to Banque Saudi Fransi’s first-half real estate review, the average asking price of smaller villas in some areas of north Riyadh jumped by 59.4 percent in comparison to the same time last year.
The Saudi capital, which houses a quarter of the kingdom’s population, saw small villa values throughout the city rise by an average of 11.5 percent since the second half of last year. Apartment prices also rose in Riyadh, but by far less.
Banque Saudi Fransi also said in March that Saudi Arabia needs 1.65 million new homes by 2015 to meet growing demand.
It said the kingdom, the biggest Arab economy, is facing a massive housing problem due to rapid population growth and an inflow of expatriate workers.
“We estimate private and public developers will need to build about 275,000 units a year through 2015 for a total of 1.65 million homes over six years,” the report said.