In times of uncertainty, people are reluctant to live beyond their means, and whereas in the past many might have aspired to live in new-build, high-end accommodation, now low- to middle-income earners, in particular, have become more realistic about what they can and cannot afford.
This is a problem throughout the GCC. Put simply, not enough affordable housing has been built during the past decade. For developers, this pent-up demand represents a clear business opportunity. But responding to it is something few have figured out as yet.
In a region in which property developers have built their reputations on mould-breaking iconic megaprojects, there is understandable hesitation about switching to lower margin developments.
But it is a change that must happen in order to maintain socio-economic stability and to prevent even more luxury properties wastefully standing empty across the region. Governments are working hard to effect this change, obliging developers to include low-cost housing in their property schemes and Riyadh is already moving in this direction. Other Gulf states would do well to follow suit.