Saudi Arabia’s Housing Ministry has invited contractors to bid for the first major package of its $67bn programme to build housing for Saudi nationals.

The ministry has invited contractors to submit bids by 13 October to build 7,000 houses in Riyadh.

The development is part of the government’s plans to build 500,000 new homes for Saudi nationals in the coming years to cope with the increasing demand. In November last year, US-based Parsons International was awarded the contract for masterplanning and designing housing and infrastructure for the first phase of the ministry’s housing programme.

The first phase will cover a total area of 32 million square metres divided into 11 sites spread across the kingdom. The Riyadh package is the first major construction contract to be tendered as part of the kingdom’s housing programme.

The Housing Ministry is also expected to issue tender documents for a contract to build 1,000 houses at Asir in the southern part of the kingdom by the end of September.

It is estimated that Saudi Arabia needs to build 1.65 million new homes by 2015 to meet the housing requirements of its rapidly expanding population, which is currently growing by more than 2 per cent a year.