Hussain Al Harthi on Cityscape Jeddah

Posted on 30th March 2015 in Interviews

Mr. Hussain Al Harthi, Managing Director at National Exhibition Co., the organizers of Cityscape Jeddah talk to Construction Intelligence Partner Ventures Onsite about the 2015 edition of the event ( scheduled to take place from 5-7 April 2015 in Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events, Saudi Arabia.

1. How does an exhibition like Cityscape Jeddah affect the real estate market in Saudi Arabia and how many visitors are expected at this year’s event ? 

Hussain Al Harthi :  All Cityscape events around the globe act as a barometer of the real estate industry in each market. This is no different for Cityscape Jeddah – The Jeddah Urban Development and Real Estate Investment Event , held during 5 – 7 April 2015 at Jeddah Events & Forums Center owned by JCCI.

With approximately 60 high level exhibitors and 10,000 visitors expected over the three days, the event will provide the best and most unique investment opportunities in the Kingdom, as well as the GCC. We expect to see huge enthusiasm for property investment and business networking, with iconic developments on show.

A platform such as Cityscape has a positive influence on the industry as it encourages investment and business interaction. We expect local developers and brokers to be able to showcase and eventually move product, while visitors will be presented with the greatest selection of investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

2. Why do you encourage more real-estate companies to participate in Cityscape ?

Hussain Al Harthi : With approximately 60 exhibiting companies made up of developers, brokers and real estate service providers, we are very pleased with the level of participation this year. We have managed to gather together some of the most important real estate companies in Saudi Arabia and the region.

Cityscape Jeddah – The Jeddah Urban Development and Real Estate Investment Event is a step above any other real estate event as it is the highest quality and utilizes international standard, event organizing techniques and marketing strategies. We recommend those companies that are not participating to visit the event this year and see for themselves the high level interactions our exhibitors have. We know from experience that many of our current clients decided to exhibit after seeing the event themselves.

3. With the appointment of the new housing Minister, what changes are we expected to see in the months/years ahead ? 

Zuhair Hamza - Tamlik : The Government objectives and goals toward the housing issues remain constant and are a continuation of the main programs.  I expect that there will be more focus on the existing and on-going programs with emphasis on time and achievement, while reexamining the initial housing strategy to concentrate on realistic and result oriented programs.  We might witness revision and easement of financing requirement and simplification of procedures.

4. How would you be able to develop the Saudi real estate market ?

Ahmed Alsahli - Sumou : The significant growth in demand for residential projects perfectly reflects the Market where population growth in recent years has created the need for more than 500,000 additional housing units in less than two years.  As a result, the course of action laid out in the government’s strategic development plan has led to the fostering of partnerships between various governmental institutions and high class real estate developers to ensure the creation of substantial numbers of new housing units in order to keep up with the rising demand.

5. How would the various participating parties attempt to improve infrastructure in both Makkah and Jeddah to accommodate the growing population ?

Ahmed Alsahli - Sumou :Jeddah is facing the challenge of sustainably managing its growth for the coming 20 years. During this period the city will be required to develop 50,000 new homes every year. In lieu of this, the challenges that may face the developers in achieving this are:

  • Unstable global economy
  • Providing high quality products with reasonable price
  • Encroachment on lands
  • Urban heights permitted in Jeddah do not help in achieving a balance between the high demand for housing and lands available
  • Relatively higher price of lands compared to other cities in the kingdom

6. Reports state that large portions of the Saudi population rely on renting property. How would you encourage more Saudis to purchase or own their property ?

Riyadh Al-Thaqafi- Ewaan : Homeownership should be for everyone; here are some financial and emotional advantages that can be enticing. Historically, homes rise in value anywhere from 4% to 6% per year. Even if your home doesn’t increase in value, you’ll be building equity as you pay down your mortgage as long as your home maintains its value. On the other hand, when you rent, your housing payment provides you with a place to live, but will not provide you with an asset to sell when you are ready to move. Also once you commit to owning a home, you are more likely to become more involved in your community because you know you’ll be there for years. You can get to know your neighbors, perhaps join a homeowners’ association, or volunteer for projects that benefit the community or the local school.

7. What are some key points that individuals should take into consideration when buying property ?

Riyadh Al-Thaqafi- Ewaan : There are some key factors to consider before buying property, For example, it should be located in a good neighborhood and close to essential amenities. You need to consider your growing needs over time and assess whether or not this home will meet those needs.

Before buying a new home you should really do a cost-benefit analysis. Think about how much money you plan to put into the property. Return on investment is not usually instantaneous; it takes time for a home’s value to increase. It’s worth noting that only 25% of Saudi citizens own their own homes, while rents have increased by 60% in the last few years. Consider this investment carefully and when in doubt consult a realtor and/or a financial guru for guidance.

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