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Can engineers resolve Saudi's housing shortage?

A Makkah official says engineers must do more to plug the gaps in Saudi Arabia's residential market, even as financial constraints challenge buyers in the country

A Makkah official has called on engineers to resolve Saudi's housing shortage. [Representational image]
A Makkah official has called on engineers to resolve Saudi's housing shortage. [Representational image]

Engineers based in Saudi Arabia must increase their efforts to resolve the Kingdom's housing crisis and improve residential project quality in the country, a government official has said. 

The Kingdom's housing ministry recently said the country will need three million new homes by 2025.

According to Saudi Gazette, however, real estate agents have previously estimated that more housing units will be required in the Kingdom, where population growth is set to cross 37 million in ten years. 

Hussein Al-Zahrani, director general of the ministry's office in Makkah province, supported the ministry's figures, adding the country will need up to 330,000 housing units each year.

Residential development by the ministry will, he insisted, take time, since it has to procure suitable land for the projects.

Al-Zahrani criticised Saudi engineers for not doing enough to resolve the Kingdom's housing problem, adding residential units constructed by local companies are of "poor quality", it was reported. 

Ghazi Al-Abbasi, Saudi Engineering Council's former secretary-general, said: "The issue is not with engineering but with finance."

Al-Abbasi said financial constraints prohibit citizens from purchasing homes such as villas, even though they would prefer to buy them. 

"The mix of roles has complicated the ministry's mission," he added.

Al-Zahrani expects an increase of five million in Saudi's population over the next ten years. 

The housing ministry has 95 projects under design, with 25 in the tender phase, and 67 under implementation, he continued. 

"This means the ministry has 187 projects with a total of 233,651 housing units," Al-Zahrani said, according to the report. 

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Construction Week - Issue 745
Jun 30, 2019