Saudi Arabia among fastest growing markets in built asset performance

Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest growing markets in built asset performance compared to the world’s 30 highest grossing countries

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Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest growing markets in built asset performance compared to the world’s 30 highest grossing countries, a report issued recently by EC Harris, ARCADIS Company and built asset consultancy firm.

Based on findings of the ARCADIS Global Built Asset Performance Index, Saudi Arabia is set to receive a significant boost by 70 percent over the next decade due to the heavy investment in its built environment.

Hisham Malaika, Head of KSA Partner and Head of Property and Social Infrastructure, at EC Harris, said “built assets such as good transport links, productive industrial centers and high quality residential and commercial property all positively contribute to the economic performance of Saudi Arabia. Most of Saudi Arabia’s GDP is currently generated through its natural resources, but this research shows that this natural wealth is being invested wisely to drive economic growth from the built environment.”

Developed in conjunction with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), the Global Built Asset Performance Index illustrates how buildings and infrastructure contribute to GDP across the world.

The Global Built Asset Performance Index illustrates, for the first time, how Saudi Arabia compares to 30 countries which collectively represent 82 percent of global GDP. The Index revealed that total built asset income within these countries stands at $27.1 trillion, amounting to 40 percent of total GDP. The figure is expected to rise to $28.1 trillion in 2014.

Saudi Arabia achieved low returns in 2013, but significant growth expected over next decade.

The report highlighted the contribution from the heavy investment in the country’s built environment in support of the 2025 Economic Vision.

Major schemes such as the King Abdullah Economic City, rapid expansion of cities including Riyadh and Jeddah, the development of extensive rail transportation infrastructure and new water supply and distribution systems are all part of plans for sustained economic growth.

Malaika added that “a key driver for this focus on economic diversification is demographic pressure. The country’s population is rapidly expanding, with 50 percent of the population currently less than 28 years of age.”

Rapid population growth is creating new social infrastructure demands for housing, education, health and public utility needs. If these demands are met, the dynamism created by a combination of growth in human and built assets should enable the country to achieve better returns in the future.

Saudi Arabia has come a long way in a relatively short time and as it diversifies away from a carbon economy, is on course for a prosperous future supported by its built asset wealth.

(This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on May 22, 2014.)

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