Saudi Arabia’s Housing Ministry has said it wants to ensure 75 per cent of Saudi citizens own houses by 2020.

According to a statement from the ministry, this amounts to about 1.5 million families, with the authority aiming to cut the time to get a construction licence from six months to two months.

The ministry says there are more than 166,000 housing units due to come on to the market, comprising 66,000 that are under construction and 120,000 new projects in the design phase. It adds that it hopes to provide a large number of units at “reasonable” prices by developing and delivering 100,000 units this year, in addition to providing 300,000 housing units over the next few years.

In April, an agreement was signed with a consortium of South Korean contractors Hanwha Engineering & Construction (E&C) and Daewoo E&C, and the local Saudi Pan Kingdom for Trading, Industry & Contracting (Sapac) to develop 100,000 homes 35 kilometres north of Riyadh. The new town will be called Dahiyat al-Fursan.

The agreement came in the same week in which Dubai developer Nakheel signed a deal to develop thousands of houses north of Riyadh. The agreement, signed with Saudi Real Estate Company (Al-Akaria), will see the developer provide services including masterplanning, design, construction management, and mall design and management

According to regional projects tracker MEED Projects, there are about $18bn-worth of housing units under construction in the kingdom (excluding military, labour, student accomodation and the South Korean deal above), with $7.4bn-worth at the planning stage.

Saudi Arabia to launch affordable mortgages scheme for citizens

Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, or Sama as the central bank is known, has completed coordination with housing and finance ministries to implement the programme, according to a Sama statement. The central bank did not give the size of the funds to be allocated to the scheme or when the programme will start. Read more.