Saudi land shortage delays housing scheme

Government’s 500,000 unit housing scheme could be at risk because of shortage

Saudi Arabia’s national housing scheme is being hampered by a shortage of suitable land.

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The government’s 500,000-unit national housing scheme is being hampered by a shortage of suitable land close to cities and utilities, an informed source has said.

Only one-third of the land is available for the Ministry of Housing project approved by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, but these plots are far from urban areas and basic services. The problem is particularly pronounced in Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif and Abha.

Since most of the land available for the project is away from main cities, the government will have to spend a huge amount to bring utilities to the projects. Besides, those locations might not please the beneficiaries because of their distance from cities.

The ministry is working with provincial governorates and municipalities to find a solution to the issue. Some project delays are caused by inefficient contractors who can’t speed up their work and meet their deadlines.

Abdullah Al-Ahmari, chairman of the real estate valuation and auctions committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the housing problem cannot be solved easily and that it needs major effort rather than studies and research.

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