Saudi Arabia has started an initial work for building the first batch of a massive low income housing plan announced by the kingdom early this year. These housing units, which are intended to meet the needs of the lower income sector, will be located around the Kingdom with the first of them currently being masterplanned on various sites totalling 32 square kilometres, according to a research note released by CBRE Bahrain. 500,000 housing units
As much as $67 billion has been set aside for the construction of 500,000 housing units. Government policy through 2012 remains focused on infrastructure and social programmes.There has been renewed talk that there may be some movement on one or more of the long-awaited 'mortgage laws' that may, or may not, address the key issue of mortgage security and in particular repossession of properties for non-payment. There is no indication to date that this key issue has or will be resolved, instead talk has been focused on the potential for mortgage portfolios to be packaged up as derivative products that may be traded between banks. Reports indicate that the central bank of Saudi Arabia (SAMA) will publish the new rules on mortgage financing in order to receive feedback before implementation, said CBRE Bahrain. In an effort to tackle the persistent unemployment problem among Saudi Arabia's young people, the government has embarked on massive infrastructure spending on both the education sector and the office sector, naturally hoping that, in time, one will satisfy the needs of the other.The 2012 budget has allocated $45 billion for the education sector, $23 billion for healthcare and $9.4 billion for transport. Together with other initiatives, government spending on non-oil infrastructure is likely to be around 7 per cent higher than in 2011. In addition to a trans-Saudi Arabian railway line, the Council of Ministers agreed to implement a massive public transport system for all the major cities. The transport solutions will include both buses and trains and will be first implemented in Riyadh, where phase 1 completion is expected in 2017.