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Saudis plan ‘One-Stop’ developer shop to ease housing gridlock

Riyadh / Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia is creating a “one-stop shop” for housing developers as it tries to
relieve bureaucratic gridlock that is stalling plans to
build half a million affordable homes for its soaring population.
The Real Estate Developers Center will bring
together various government agencies involved with the review and approval of housing projects, reducing the time and effort involved in obtaining building
permits, according to Jamil Ghaznawi, director of JLL in Saudi Arabia who was briefed on the plans.
Saudi Arabia is struggling to deliver on the late King Abdullah’s promise in 2011 to spark home construction as high urban land prices and red tape to stall
developments.
One of King Salman’s first policy decisions after taking power last year was to approve a tax on millions of acres of undeveloped land within cities to pressure owners to sell or develop the property.
The developers’ center is specifically for homebuilders and not developers looking to build properties such as hotels or malls, said JLL’s Ghaznawi. Municipalities, utilities, roads and other government agencies will all be represented, he said. A telephone call and an e-mail to the housing ministry seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.
“This will really help developers,” Ghaznawi said. “The ministry will remove layers of bureaucracy
involved with approvals of concepts and master plans. It would be approved directly from the ministry and then work with utilities and
other government bodies to
expedite the process.”

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