Saudi Arabia’s Housing Ministry is pushing ahead with a number of new housing projects as part of its plans to build 500,000 new homes in the next five years.

The ministry has tendered, or is planning to tender, contracts for more than 8,000 housing units by the end of February.

For the first package, contractors have been invited to submit bids by 2 February for a Prince Fawad Housing Development in Jeddah, which will involve building 2,000 residential units. The ministry is also planning to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a package to build another housing scheme in Jeddah, which will contain 3,500 villas. The RFP is expected to be issued by the middle of February.

The ministry is planning to issue an RFP for a contract to build 2,800 villas in Kharj, central Saudi Arabia. Contractors are expected to receive tender documents by the end of February.

In November 2012, the ministry received bids from contractors to build 7,000 houses in Riyadh.

The projects are part of the government’s plans to build 500,000 new homes for Saudi nationals in the coming years to cope with increasing demand.

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 scheme.

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.