(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Saudi property sector will need around $640 billion in investments over the next 20 years to build five million new housing units, according to a new strategic plan unveiled by Jeddah Municipality.
Jeddah alone will need almost a million housing units over the next 20 years to cope with the increasing number of expatrates and an influx of nationals from more rural areas, said the strategic plan.
"This can be achieved through the construction of low-cost housing units," said the plan unveiled on Monday to coincide with the Jeddah International Real Estate, Finance and Housing Exhibition 2010 which opened on Monday at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events.
The real estate sector in Saudi Arabia, which has not been hit by the economic downturn like in other GCC countries, plays a vital role in the non-oil economy of the kingdom. Its contribution to the gross domestic product, which stood at of 6.8 per cent in 2004, is expected to rise to 7.2 per cent in 2009.
According to projections, the total investment in the kingdom's real estate sector will exceed the $400 billion barrier by 2010.
Real estate experts believe that the upcoming mortgage law would give a further boost to the property sector.The mortgage law will increase the numbers of those who seek to own housing, spurring local developers to increase construction of housing units.
The mortgage law is expected to give lenders more rights including the ability to foreclose on properties in default.
The Shariah-compliant legislation, which has not been finalised yet, allows lenders to enforce their mortgages by reporting debtors to a central authority and forcing them to either repay their debt or vacate a property, according to property experts.
By Issac John