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MENAFN - Arab News - 05/12/2013

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The value of real estate investments in the Eastern Province (EP) is projected to hit more than SR100 billion in the next five years, local media said quoting property experts.

The real estate market in the Kingdom is generally undergoing changes centered on strategies and trends which are considered normal but, however, the market pressingly needs modern approaches to gain momentum, Al-Riyadh daily said quoting the experts.

Mohamed bin Badr Al-Dosari, CEO of Dammam-based Al-Mashriq Real Estate Company, said the changes in strategies and trends for investors and market drivers are inevitable and normal but the other part of the story is mandatory; the state policies and customer needs.

However, the biggest challenge facing the real estate market in the Kingdom lies on land manipulations and lack of infrastructure development of land plans, he said, adding that zakat on white (vacant) lands is to be given consideration in this regard.

Inadequacy of property developers in the last period sent the market into uncertainty and confusion but, however, the Saudi market is still attractive and encouraging where potential investors will find valued opportunities, he was quoted as saying.

The market lacks depth, which will come about on having more flexible measures, legislations, end-products, and developers, he added.

Member of Real Estate Committee at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EPCCI) Abdullah Al-Sulaiman stated that manipulations have adversely affected the market and sent land prices to higher levels through swift buying and selling transactions.

The Saudi real estate market needs modern approaches and non-traditional products whether in terms of interior/exterior designs or at the level of implementation and final delivery of property units, he said.

On the funding issue, he said the financing agencies had contributed to the development of real estate market but at limited rates due to the (tough) regulations imposed by the financing bodies. He expected that real estate sector in the Eastern Province will attract investments worth more than SR100 billion in the next five years.

Sulaiman Salih Al-Dosari, another member of EPCCI Real Estate Committee, said the funding firms and banks have unconsciously harmed the real estate market as the loans were given to low-income borrowers (citizens) at high interest rates.

He urged that the currently-applied lending policy should be under strict government control to keep gaps between lenders and borrowers as narrow as possible.

The property expert said manipulations are exclusively happening in government-granted lands which, he said, have inflated prices in an unjustified manner.

He also called on the Ministry of Housing to enter into partnerships with local property developers to receive and implement housing projects immediately as demand on property units is increasingly growing where the Eastern Province alone needs 60,000 units annually.


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