With its eagerness to maximize the benefits of a favorable investment climate and commitment to sustainable housing, this public investment fund is rewriting the country’s realty growth story.
ROSHN, a company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is at the forefront of transforming the real estate landscape in Saudi Arabia.
On the sidelines of the CityScape Global Exhibition, Al Arabiya English caught up with ROSHN Group Chief Development Officer Oussama Kabbani to further excavate the Kingdom’s current status in the real estate sector.
Saudi Vision 2030 and ROSHN’s genesis
Saudi Vision 2030, with its multifaceted objectives, has given rise to several giga projects aimed at realizing its vision. Initially tasked with delivering homes for Saudis, ROSHN set out to build nearly 400,000 units, playing a pivotal role in achieving the goal to have 70 percent of Saudis own their homes.
“In our thriving Riyadh community, nearly 500 families have already made their homes and with every passing week, month and year, we witness a growing influx of new residents,” highlighted Kabbani.
As a testament to ROSHN’s pivotal role in Saudi Arabia’s development, Kabbani the company will soon announce its first project in Mecca which he described as a “very large community for ownership.”
In Riyadh alone, nearly 500 families are living in ROSHN communities and by 2030, ROSHN plans to complete 30-35 units of residential properties. This transformation will lead to the creation of a small town called SEDRA.
“Looking ahead to 2030, we plan to complete approximately 30 to 35 residential units and hope to find happy occupants,” said Kabbani.
Furthermore, ROSHN is actively expanding its footprint in Riyadh, Jeddah and Mecca, catering to the growing demand for sustainable, modern communities.
Sustainability is key
Sustainability is a cornerstone of Saudi Vision 2030, aiming to reduce the carbon footprint and enhance social and economic sustainability. ROSHN embraces these principles by using sustainable materials, integrating solar energy and championing the concept of 15-minute cities to promote walkability and reduce car dependency.
“Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of the solar-powered automobile industry. In the coming years, we anticipate a shift away from traditional automobiles towards domestically produced solar cars,” Kabbani said.
ROSHN has aligned its commitment to provide sustainable housing with the vision of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz. Going beyond conventional practices, the company recently became a UN Global Impact member, obligating it to report its sustainability goals and contributions to global environmental issues.
This membership, while serving as a great inspiration for sustainability practices, places ROSHN under international scrutiny and sets a precedent for other giga projects in the region.
“Like everything else in Saudi Arabia, once you start, all the other giga projects will follow,” emphasized Kabbani.
Commercial and rental markets in KSA
The ownership market in Saudi Arabia is robust, driven by the country’s young population. Younger generations are increasingly seeking smaller and more affordable homes or apartments – a trend seen worldwide.
In the Kingdom’s early days, everyone aspired to own grand villas. However, according to Kabbani, this trend has recently witnessed a shift towards more affordable and sustainable housing solutions.
“While owning property is still desirable, there is a growing demand for rental properties, both for residential and commercial purposes,” Kabbani said.
Saudi Arabia’s job market, catering to both nationals and expatriates, is helping fuel this demand, with people now preferring good neighborhoods over closed compounds, contributing to a flourishing rental market.
Explore a burgeoning market
Saudi Arabia represents an immense business opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked. The scale of development in the country is unprecedented, driven by a clear vision, strategic planning and government initiatives.
“If you want to be in business today, you must be in Saudi Arabia. If you’re not in Saudi Arabia, you’re not in business,” expressed Kabbani.
The country’s impact on the real estate sector is substantial and it’s a nation with great human resources potential, scientific advancement and effective management. Investors and developers are being urged to explore this burgeoning market, which is still in its early stages, according to Kabbani.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia is currently mulling over a legal reform that may open up opportunities for foreigners – a move that has already found a lot of traction worldwide and is expected to be implemented in the future.
Kabbani further explained: “ROSHN welcomes foreign investors and developers to explore opportunities within its master plan. The company supports local sub-developers to grow and expand their businesses.”
With giga projects such as THE LINE, King Salman Park, and the Cube reshaping the landscape and setting new standards, Saudi Arabia is rewriting the narrative in the real estate industry.
The Cityscape Global Exhibition held earlier this month in Riyadh, showcased the monumental scale and ambition of the country’s real estate endeavors, making it a must-visit for anyone in the industry.
“We were in CityScape, the largest real estate property event in history that tells you a lot about Saudi Arabia. It’s on a scale that has never happened before in history,” Kabbani claimed.
“I urge investors and developers in the property sector to start understanding this market because we’re still at the very beginning and there are so many opportunities,” he continued.
Saudi Arabia’s ambition, effective management and forward-looking vision are propelling the country towards becoming a global economic powerhouse and a modern nation.
“I think a new chapter is being written by Saudi Arabia today,” Kabbani said. This journey encompasses various industries – from fintech to biotech, aviation to tourism – that are all working together to ensure a harmonious progression.
Partnership opportunities galore
“There’s an ocean called Saudi Arabia and I think it’s one of the largest real estate oceans,” Kabbani reiterated, adding: “Come, be a part of this transformative journey and contribute to the remarkable evolution of Saudi Arabia’s real estate sector.”
Underscoring the safety the country offers and its growing investment climate, Kabbani said the Kingdom allows a lot of partnership opportunities. “Come and be a part of the party,” he said.
Earlier this year, as an effort to develop Saudi communities, ROSHN signed eight giga contracts worth SR8 billion ($2.1 billion) to develop modern infrastructure and facilities across the several projects it is developing in the Kingdom.
“As a key growth engine for the Saudi economy, PIF and its portfolio companies are looking to further develop long-term partnerships with the local private sector to realize Vision 2030 objectives,” PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan announced during a recent event.
“These will help diversify the economy and enhance competitiveness, thereby increasing local content and unlocking new sectors,” he added.