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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: Real estate professionals have praised the efforts of the Saudi Ministry of Housing after it announced the launch of several housing units in the Kingdom.
Abdullah Al-Ahmari, head of the committee for evaluating real estate, and experts in construction at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) said that the ministry was working fast to establish housing units in cooperation with local developers. The aim is to provide different options for people who need housing support and to achieve the ministry's 2020 goals.
The question Al-Ahmari asked is: “Do these housing projects satisfy the needs and aspiration of citizens?” He added that they should provide facilities and services such as education, health and infrastructure. Al-Ahmari said that there should be a balance in the real estate market so that the value of housing units provided by the ministry should not be less than that of those preferred by local banks due to long installment times.
Ahmed Al-Bar, from the Al-Bar Group for Real Estate Development, and a former member of the real state committee at JCCI, said: “The minister of housing has proven successful, but I hope that the Ministry of Housing will ensure that planning for housing units include services that people need, including hospitals, schools, parks, malls and nurseries.”
There were housing projects in Egypt, Ethiopia and China that could be considered as models for the Kingdom. “We hope that cooperation is achieved between planners, contractors and supervisors to develop projects that best serve residents, and models that provide services side by side with housing units,” he said.
The ministry has announced its goals for 2020, including providing 100,000 new housing units in partnership with real estate developers at a total value of SR65 billion.
Its “Sakani” program continues to deliver housing units, and 19 projects in nine regions of the Kingdom have been announced — 40 projects are providing 14,000 “villa” housing units. These projects are characterized by infrastructure such as sidewalks, lighting, electricity and water services, in addition to green areas, public parks and children’s playgrounds and mosques.
Saif Al-Suwailem, spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, affirmed the department's keenness to deliver units to citizens as soon as they are completed. The ministry ensured the housing units met all quality standards and specifications. The aim was to achieve the goals of the housing program — to increase local ownership to reach 70 percent as part of Saudi 2030 Vision goals, he said.
The ministry allocated 12,642 plots for residential property building during November, according to official figures.
Makkah received the largest issue of free land under the ministry’s “Sakani” program at 2,383, with Qassim second on 2,079 and Najran on 1,660.
A statement from program officials said that the figures for land distribution in preparation for the construction of housing units were made possible by electronic streamlining of the application process.
Other parts of the Kingdom to receive land allocations were Riyadh (1,611), the Eastern Region (1,362), Madinah (998), Al-Jouf (513), Northern Borders (319), Hail (651), Asir (504), Tabuk (255), Al-Baha (221) and Jazan (86).
Free land is one of the options provided by the program. Beneficiaries may also apply for villas, buy an under-construction residential unit in partnership with the private sector, buy a finished housing unit off the market or acquire a 100 percent subsidized profit mortgage for landowners.
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