Finance options enhance investment in Saudi real estate sector, say experts at Riyadh forum

Majid Al-Hogail, Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing delivers a speech at the opening of the 2nd edition of Future of Real Estate Forum in Riyadh on Monday. (SPA)
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Updated 25 January 2023

Finance options enhance investment in Saudi real estate sector, say experts at Riyadh forum

  • Specialists in Saudi housing at the three-day event underlined the necessity of investing in the sector through various financing alternatives, based on the capabilities and demands of customers

RIYADH: The second Real Estate Future Forum concluded in Riyadh on Wednesday following the participation of 30 states and 100 speakers representing public and private sectors, along with leading economics experts, investors, and decision-makers, both local and global.

Specialists in Saudi housing at the three-day event underlined the necessity of investing in the sector through various financing alternatives, based on the capabilities and demands of customers. 

Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing Majid Al-Hogail said that in-kind registration was one of the main priorities of the real estate sector’s comprehensive strategy, adding: “It is directly linked to the reliability and investment attractiveness of the real estate sector.”

He noted that 2022 had witnessed radical developments and major transformations “as well as the launch of a single entity in charge of registration of property, which is the General Real Estate Authority, in addition to issuing the law of property registration and its implementing regulations.”

The forum addressed several themes, such as the role of the emirates, governorates, ministries and secretariats in aligning to empower the real estate sector, and regional efforts and their impact on the growth of the sector.

The forum also focused on the future of real estate investment, and regulations.

Mansour bin Madi, CEO of the Real Estate Development Fund, said that the individual real estate finance market grew significantly, reaching SR674 billion ($179.5 billion) from January to November 2022, up nearly 130 percent from SR287 billion in 2017.

This reflected the success of the housing plan, one of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 programs.

Bin Madi added that the Real Estate Development Fund’s initiatives are supported by “best global standards” digital governance, citing the execution of more than 10 million digital operations through 43 e-services, as well as the fund’s programs and services with more than 103 e-services.

He noted that the private sector’s role in providing finance and land support to citizens had become more effective, citing the sustainability of the finance market and support programs as a result of the signing of more than 150 strategic agreements with the private sector, which contributed to providing solutions.

Noffel Al-Salama, CEO of the Housing Program, explained that the scheme had various problems and needed “a major overhaul of its system, whether related to the provision of real estate supply or essentially financial alternatives.”

According to Al-Salama, the housing sector accounts for more than 60 percent of the real estate industry and requires development in terms of developer empowerment, reorganization, and law to deliver the housing units demanded by citizens.

Al-Salama indicated that the program nevertheless provides housing solutions that meet the needs and aspirations of Saudi families and that “one of the most important of them is to facilitate the acquisition procedures with an immediate entitlement to direct access to finance through the pertinent regulation to reach the desired targets and achieve growth in terms of control of legislation and government directives.”

Entrustment and Liquidation Center CEO Hussein Al-Harbi said that the body is responsible for encouraging cooperation between government and judicial bodies, as well as working to empower and support the private sector involved in judicial and governmental liquidation operations.

Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

Updated 22 February 2024

Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

HAIL: Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Hail region, took part in a Zubaida Trail caravan on Thursday to mark Founding Day celebrations.

The caravan, overseen by the Heritage Commission and organized by the Caravans Trails Association, began its journey from the historic city of Fayd to Sumaira’ Province.

Prince Faisal honored the sponsors and partners, and along with hikers, horseback riders, camel riders and cyclists, took part in the caravan journey.

Along the route, the deputy governor spoke to groups taking part in the event, including Saudis and foreigners in the Kingdom.

Prince Faisal praised the government’s support for the heritage sector, and commended the dedication of all parties involved in the caravan program.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Obeida, general supervisor of the Zubaida Trail, praised the support given to the initiative by the Saudi leadership, as well as the Hail governor and his deputy.

He said that the scheme aims to revitalize the ancient route, which is one of many in Saudi Arabia dating back over 1,000 years.

Al-Obeida highlighted the importance of community involvement in sustaining and developing the trail route for economic, cultural and tourism purposes.

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

Updated 22 February 2024

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

AL-ULA: Fourteen Arabian oryxes and 40 Arabian sand gazelles have been released into the Gharameel nature reserve by the the National Center for Wildlife.

The conservation effort at Gharameel, located 60 km north of AlUla, took place with cooperation from the Royal Commission for AlUla.

The reserve features unique biodiversity throughout its rock and sand formations, and hillsides.

Resettlement of endangered native species is a key target of the center, as well as restoring biodiversity and environmental balance as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Animal reintroduction also promotes the RCU’s plan to activate six nature reserves while regenerating AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage.

The formations of rocky pillars in the area were created through wind and rain erosion over thousands of years.

AlUla is also a popular stargazing destination for tourists from around the world.

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

Updated 22 February 2024

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

RIYADH: The honeybee breeding program — spearheaded by the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program “Saudi Reef” in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture — is poised to make a substantial impact on bee populations.

A select group of model beekeepers has achieved an impressive 200 percent increase in productivity by implementing the program.

According to the “Saudi Reef” program, the surge in production is attributed to a strategic focus on expanding queen bee rearing within the breeding and propagation program.

Additionally, the adoption of innovative production techniques and best practices, including hive management and organic beekeeping, has played a key role.

These practices have been documented in a booklet distributed to beekeepers and have yielded significant production boosts in several model farms established by the project.

Expanding on its success, the program plans to roll out projects for “bee queen breeding and nuclei production” across eight centers spanning regions such as Jazan, Najran, Asir, Baha, Makkah, Madinah, Hail and Tabuk.

Each center is expected to produce 5,000 queen bees annually, characterized by purity and high-production specifications.

This will enable beekeepers to expand queen bee breeding and bee colonies while preserving favorable genetic traits for enhanced production and resilience against diseases and environmental factors.

The honeybee development and honey production sector is a key focus of the “Saudi Reef” program. Since its inception, the program has had significant increases in production, enhancing the income and living standards of its beneficiaries.

To increase food security and agricultural self-sufficiency, Saudi Arabia unveiled an ambitious initiative in August last year to produce more than 7,500 tons of honey annually as part of the Saudi Reef.

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

Updated 22 February 2024

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

  • Saudi employees trained at top schools bringing skills back to the Kingdom

MAKKAH: The Makkah Expo for Hotels and Restaurants, held at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Exhibition Center, ended on Wednesday evening.

The exhibition’s fifth edition was inaugurated by Vice Chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce Mustafa Rajab and involved officials, business owners and company representatives.

A large number of companies and institutions representing the hotel and culinary sectors, specialized in serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors, attended the three-day exhibition, which was held in collaboration with the Unit for Exhibition Organization.

Abdullah Haneef, the acting secretary-general of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce, told Arab News: “The exhibition provided an opportunity to access the best practices in the hotel and restaurant sectors, as it brought together a select group of people specialized in this field in Makkah, a pioneer in the hotel sector field attracting large numbers of visitors from around the world.”

He added that industry officials exchanged business ideas and showcased modern tools and technology, food products and hotel and restaurant supplies, and took part in several accompanying events.

Haneef added: “The exhibition offers an opportunity for investors, interested parties, specialized companies and experts in the hotel and restaurant sector from inside and outside the Kingdom, to display their products to investors and interested individuals and exchange expertise, as well as engage in commercial deals between exhibitors, participants and individuals interested in the hotel and restaurant sector.”

The exhibition also hosted a salon for culinary arts and live cooking demonstrations.

Khalid Al-Ghamdi, an investor in the hotel sector, said that the Saudi industry has begun a strong post-pandemic recovery, and is fulfilling its role in serving visitors.

He added that intensive training programs Saudi employees are undertaking in top international hotel schools are helping them apply their knowledge back in the Kingdom.

Al-Ghamdi said that the restaurant sector is facing significant challenges but also opportunities, including smart digital solutions.

Makkah is one of the most significant and holiest places worldwide, drawing millions of Muslims for religious rituals such as Hajj and Umrah, he added.

The city should therefore focus on enhancing future innovation plans and smart marketing to make the hospitality sector a top performer, through innovative solutions and major investment, he said.

Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

Updated 22 February 2024

Saudi, French FMs discuss bilateral ties on G20 sidelines

  • Ministers reviewed latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met on Thursday with his French counterpart Stephane Segournet on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

They discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

They also reviewed the latest regional and international developments, particularly Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Kingdom’s Ambassador to Brazil Faisal Ghulam and Walid Al-Smail, assistant director general of the Saudi foreign minister’s office, were also present at the meeting.