(MENAFN - Arab News) Nearly 12,000 Saudis are expected to benefit from the second tranche of housing loans from the Real Estate Development Fund (REDF).
According to reports in the local media, names of the beneficiaries are to be announced in the next two days. "Those who will benefit from the loans come from all parts of the Kingdom," said local reports. "Nearly 500,000 Saudis have applied for housing loans."
Providing affordable housing to all sections of the Saudi population is among the top priorities of the government. The Ministry of Finance has allocated billions of riyals in the annual budget to be distributed as housing loans to Saudis in the middle- and low-income bands.
The REDF is one of the key agencies for providing such easily repayable loans. The agency has in recent times signed a number of agreements with local banks to facilitate the payment of real estate loans to Saudi nationals.
Prominent Saudi national Bidah Mejdal Al-Gahtani described it as excellent news. "The government has given top priority to all those who are in the low- or middle-income category," he told Arab News. "For Saudis in this categories, it is very difficult to own houses."
Al-Gahtani said real estate prices have through the roof. "Getting huge sums of money to buy a plot of land and then to construct a house on it is next to impossible ... It is only through these loans that owning a house has become a reality for many a Saudi," he said.
To obtain a loan from the REDF, one has to meet a number of conditions: The loan applicant must be a Saudi citizen; he must be at least 24, unless he is married or an orphan. For women to qualify for a loan, they must meet either of the two criteria: She must be unmarried and 40 or older or the loan applicant must be a widow or divorced. The loan applicant must not own a house independently. Exception is made for owners of old homes that are unfit for dwelling, and which the owner plans to tear down and reconstruct.