DAMMAM – Saudi Arabia is focusing on building more housing facilities specifically to benefit the younger generation of Saudis, according to Abdulrahman Rashed Al-Rashed, president of the Asharqia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“The Kingdom is experiencing a severe housing shortage; we have a low rate of homeownership, which is why the focus now is on sustaining our growth so that we can build more houses for the coming generations of Saudis,” he said, addressing a visiting international delegation.
“Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Gulf region; it has a young population that requires the support of the government and the private sector. Housing is now a priority in order to support the growing number of young Saudis,” Al-Rashed added. He said building more housing units is also needed to reduce inflation, which could worsen if additional housing units are not made available soon.
“To ensure that more housing is made available for the coming generation, we have to protect the economy from financial crises, which we have successfully achieved. The goal now is to sustain economic growth in the next decade, and to robustly maintain that developmental growth.”
The building of more housing units will also see rental prices start to decline. The rental of apartments and housing units has increased between 30 to 40 percent in recent years, creating difficulties for both citizens and foreign residents who complain that while they are paying more for housing rent, their salaries have not increased.
The government has already planned two million more housing units by the year 2020, as part of a SR900 billion investment during the next 12 years.
Currently the Kingdom has over five million units available. Building the additional two million units will help to keep inflation low.
The increase in rental prices is a primary factor in Saudi Arabia’s inflation rate.
“We would like the younger generation of Saudis to have houses of their own; at the same time inflation will be kept manageable,” Al-Rashed said. – SG