Property

Saudi officials propose undeveloped land fees

Draft proposal suggests a charge of no more than 100 riyals ($27) per square metre of urban land left undeveloped

PHOTO: Vast swathes of land in Saudi Arabia are owned by wealthy individuals who have held back from developing on it, despite the housing shortage in the kingdom. Credit: Shutterstock

Fees on undeveloped urban land in Saudi Arabia would be capped at 100 riyals ($26.67) per square metre under new Cabinet proposal, it was reported.

The Saudi Cabinet said in March it would impose taxes on undeveloped plots of land within cities in a bid to resolve the country’s housing shortage.

Draft regulation will now be studied by the Shura council over a period of thirty days, according to the state news agency SPA.

The housing minister said on Monday that the Cabinet’s proposal to the Shura council included a recommendation to impose a fee of no more than 100 riyals ($26.67) per square metre on undeveloped lands, Reuters reported.

Minister Majed al-Hogail said the fees would “encourage landowners to develop their land… and to provide lands of different and appropriate sizes for different segments of the society,” the news agency reported.

It was not immediately clear when the proposed charge would apply or how often it would be levied.

Vast swathes of land in Saudi Arabia are owned by wealthy individuals who have held back from developing on it, despite the housing shortage in the kingdom.

According to real estate consultants CBRE about 60% of Saudi nationals – or some 10 million people – live in rented accommodation and the rate of Saudi home ownership is about half the global average.

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