RIYADH: Investments in Saudi Arabia’s real estate sector will top SR1.5 trillion as the year ends, said Husain Alharthi, Managing Director of the National Exhibitions Company (NEC) Sunday.
Alharthi was speaking to the media after Prince Muhammad Bin Saud Bin Naif Bin Abdul Aziz opened the Riyadh International Urban Development and Real Estate Investment Event – Cityscape Riyadh 2010 at the Four Seasons Hotel.
More than 60 real estate firms from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are participating to discuss business prospects as the Saudi capital sets about its vision of transforming the city into the “New Riyadh”.
“Total investment in the Kingdom’s real estate sector is expected to surpass SR1.5 trillion by the year-end, with many developments taking place in Riyadh,” Alharthi said.
Under the “New Riyadh” vision the Saudi capital prepares to transform itself into a modern commercial complex within the next four to five years. The three-day Cityscape Riyadh 2010 is seen as an important platform for participants to network with regional and international real estate industry players.
“We will also have an opportunity to gain clearer insights on the current state of the local real estate sector and what key projects and partnerships can further expand this growth area,” said Alharthi.
John Harris, co-head of Jones Lang LaSalle, who presented a report, “Riyadh City Profile”, said the Riyadh real estate market is reaping the benefits of the Saudi government’s regulatory reform and massive investment in infrastructure.
The report covers the office, residential, retail and hospitality market segments of Riyadh.
Jones Lang LaSalle is a popular name in the global real estate industry with 180 offices worldwide. It is present in over 20 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
“Saudi Arabia is witnessing strong economic growth on the back of government investment and stronger-than-expected population growth. In Riyadh in particular, we have seen major investment in the King Abdullah Financial District and the Princess Noura Bint Abdulrahman University. These major developments have been leading a general northward shift of activity in the city. The outlook is very positive with major government and private projects well underway across the residential, office, retail and hotel markets,” said Harris. The office market will see approximately 200,000 square meters of new office space completed in 2010. However a large proportion of this does not meet typical corporate requirements for safety and parking, he said.
As the central business district (CBD) and central areas fill with development, access to parking is an increasing problem for a population that relies on cars, he said.
“Demand, however, is keeping pace with supply and vacancy levels around 10 percent. Average office rents have declined during the year with older buildings and those outside the CBD seeing the largest falls,” he said.
The three-day show includes a real estate exhibition, a high level conference, and Investor Round Tables. Over 40 expert speakers and more than 150 delegates are discussing the challenges and opportunities surrounding Riyadh’s growing property market.
Emaar Middle East (Principal Sponsor), National Commercial Bank (Silver Sponsor) and Working Buildings (Silver Sponsor) are among the top industry names supporting the event. It opens between 11 A.M. and 9 P.M. for trade-only visitors.
– Saudi Gazette