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Declan McNaughton

Riyadh ‘needs more affordable housing’

RIYADH, September 5, 2016

There is an increasing demand for affordable housing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as the population growth continues to outstrip property market supply in the kingdom’s capital, a report said.

Riyadh’s population has grown by 52 per cent over the past 15 years and currently stands at 6.5 million (6,506,700) people in 2016, according to the Riyadh Real Estate Market Overview for Q2, 2016 from Chestertons KSA, a leading property consultant.

However, only 500,000 units have been built during the same period, leading to a dearth of low-cost housing across the capital.

“The Saudi government is all too aware of the acute shortage in low-cost housing units, but continuing low oil prices have resulted in inevitable cuts in public spending, which has in turn hit public housing projects,” said Declan McNaughton, managing director UAE, Chestertons Mena.

“So far the impact on rental rates has been minimal, but it is beginning to drive prices higher in some areas that have traditionally provided value-led accommodation for budget-conscious tenants,” he added.

Average annual rental rates for apartments in Riyadh are currently $7,182 (SR26,935). In the sought-after central Riyadh area, where the most expensive rental rates are to be found, the Al Wahah district tops the list at $18,700 (SR70,000) whilst the district of Jarir was the least expensive at $9,350 (SR35,000). Southern Riyadh had the most affordable rental rates with Al Marwah and Badr districts valued at $5,066 (SR19,000) and $4,800 (SR18,000) respectively.

Average rental rates for villas in Riyadh are $31,510 (SR118, 668) with the city centre once again proving to be the most expensive and the districts Al Wahah, Al Muruj, Al Sulimaniyah, Al Wurud, and Al Olaya commanding prices of $66,665 (SR250,000). More affordable rentals can be found throughout Riyadh, dependent on the district, for $24,000 (SR90,000)

The average sales price for an apartment in Riyadh is currently $117,771 (SR441,656). However, districts across Riyadh top out at $186,661 (SR700,000) including the districts of Hittin in Northern Riyadh, Al Raid in Western Riyadh, Al Hamras in Eastern Riyadh and in Central Riyadh, Al Wahah is the most expensive at $239,993 (SR900,000). Badr, Al Marwah and Al Qadisiyah are the cheapest options at $66,664 (SR250,000).

Average sales prices for a villa are $476,768 (SR1,787,926). As can be expected, average prices differ in all areas of the city, with the highest averages typically being commanded in the city centre with the lowest in South Riyadh.

“Sales have slowed however; the move by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (Sama) to adjust the loan-to-value ratio for mortgages could help reinvigorate the market, particularly for those who had previously struggled finding the necessary funding,” said McNaughton.

“Furthermore, as the market begins to bottom out we anticipate renewed interest from buyers who have been waiting for the optimum time to purchase,” he added.

When it comes to buying land, the price of a plot overlooking one street is $573 (SR2,150) per sq m and $666 (SR2,500) for plots overlooking two streets.

The office and commercial sector has seen a number of projects completed in the first half of 2016, including Al Nakel Tower, which alone increased the city’s supply of office space to 2.5 million sq m of gross leasable area. Vacancy rates generally remained stable at 16 per cent while there was a slight decline experienced in the business district. Furthermore, rents rose slightly across different areas of the city reaching up to $341 (SR1,280) per sq m.

“While there have been some major projects completed, there have been further delays to the King Abdullah Financial District development. We expect there to be around 800,000 sq m of leasable area by 2018, up from 160,000 sq m in 2016,” added McNaughton.

Chestertons entered into a joint venture with partner Medad during the second quarter of 2015. Medad Valuation International is part of the leading Najeeb Abdullatif Alissa Holding Company (NHC), one of the fastest growing conglomerates in Saudi Arabia with operations across the kingdom.

The newly formed partnership, Chestertons Saudi Arabia Property Limited, now has offices in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar resulting in valuable brand presence and a stronger residential sales pipeline for Chestertons in the Middle East, London and its other global offices. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Saudi Arabia | Riyadh | affordable housing | Chestertons |

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