Estimated to be worth several billion riyals, the project will see the construction of 17,000 housing units at various sites around the country, including Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, according to a source close to the scheme.

The government estimates that demand for housing units in Saudi Arabia has reached 185,000 a year. With an estimated 65 per cent of the Saudi population under the age of 32, demand is expected to increase in future years.

A number of major real estate projects are already under way, which it is hoped will alleviate the pressure. These include the SR9bn ($2.3bn) Ajmakan project being developed by the local Land Holding Real Estate & Development Company and the SR40bn Al-Wasl project being developed by the UAE’s Limitless.

The National Guard is one of five branches of the Saudi Arabian Defence Forces.