Office space demand rises in Riyadh due to growth of start-ups

Total office stock in Saudi Arabia’s capital stood at 4.2 million square meters of gross leasable area by the end of 2018. (Getty Images)
Updated 12 February 2019
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Office space demand rises in Riyadh due to growth of start-ups

  • Economic and social initiatives and legislation have had a positive impact on the country’s real estate sector

RIYADH: Riyadh is seeing rising demand for office space that caters specifically to small businesses and startups despite a strong supply pipeline, according to a new report.
Total office stock in Saudi Arabia’s capital stood at 4.2 million square meters of gross leasable area (GLA) by the end of 2018, according to broker CBRE, with an additional 870,000 square meters expected to be delivered by 2022.
It follows a number of Government-led initiatives aimed at stimulating private-sector growth and promoting a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in line with Vision 2030, CBRE said.
The broker’s Market Snapshot for 2018 also highlights a growing trend for office supply as part of mixed-use development. Rents remain under pressure in the Saudi capital with both the primary and secondary office rents down by about 4 percent and 7 percent year-on-year respectively.
But increased incentives by landlords, discounts for long-term leases, and other tenant perks could help to mitigate declines in the market.
“The recent economic and social initiatives and legislation introduced by the Saudi Government have already had an extremely positive impact on the country’s real estate sector,” said Simon Townsend, head of strategic advisory at CBRE MENAT and General Manager, CBRE KSA.
“Meanwhile, the increased government spending on large-scale infrastructure and mega-projects is expected to further stimulate the overall market, with a positive trickling-down effect on all key sectors.”
The opening up of the entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia could also boost the hospitality sector, which has traditionally been driven by corporate demand in Riyadh.
However in the short term at least, CBRE expects daily rates to remain under pressure.
According to CBRE’s Market Snapshot, more than 5,000 keys are expected to be delivered to the market by 2022.
In the residential sector, CBRE estimates expected delivery of 130,000 additional units by 2022 to add to the existing inventory of about 1.25 million units.
The government wants to increase the availability of affordable housing throughout the Kingdom and has signed a number of public private partnerships to spur development.


Bank lending for ‘real economy’ key to boost China growth: central bank official

Updated 30 min 57 sec ago
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Bank lending for ‘real economy’ key to boost China growth: central bank official

  • ‘The central bank doesn’t wish to use administrative methods to require banks (to lend)’
  • Quantitative easing is neither necessary nor possible at the moment

SHANGHAI: China should encourage its banks to support smaller, private firms in the real economy, rather than forced lending or policies such as quantitative easing, a state newspaper quoted a central bank official as saying on Saturday.
“The central bank doesn’t wish to use administrative methods to require banks (to lend),” Sun Guofeng, head of the monetary policy department at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), told the Financial News, a bank publication.
“It wants to establish positive encouragement mechanisms though monetary policy tools to encourage banks to actively increase their support for the real economy, especially toward smaller and privately-owned firms,” Sun said.
The comments come a month after Sun wrote a commentary in which he argued that problems with timely capital replenishment, bank liquidity gaps and poor rate “transmission” are three major constraints on banks’ supply of credit.
In the interview with the Financial News, Sun said monetary policy transmission had “noticeably improved,” showing that steps to enhance transmission mechanisms had been effective.
He said the central bank would increase the strength of innovation in monetary policy tools.
Perpetual bond issuance “is only one breakthrough” in reducing capital constraints on banks, Sun said, adding that “other methods” could be used in the future.
He said that quantitative easing was neither necessary nor possible at the moment, noting that under China’s financial system the significance of the central bank buying Chinese treasury bonds on the secondary market is limited, and that the PBOC is barred from buying the instruments on the primary market.
China’s banks made the most new loans on record in January following a series of moves to boost lending as authorities try to prevent a sharp slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.