Urban regeneration holds promise
Urban regeneration is expected to play an important role in delivering suitable housing for Riyadh’s rising population, but existing road and power infrastructure limits the extent to which the city can expand.
As the Dubai Metro has demonstrated, the planned Riyadh metro system has the potential to regenerate existing neighbourhoods in proximity to its stations as the project opens travel to parts of the city that suffer from congestion and are seen as less desirable.
“As Riyadh continues to develop, we see an opportunity to respond to the current housing shortage by redeveloping local communities,” says Stefan Burch, partner advisory services at Knight Frank, “as the interaction between the urban and social fabric of the city becomes increasingly important.” Moreover, there is a need for a more varied residential product.
While Riyadh is dominated by lowrise development, young Saudis looking to get on the first rung of the housing ladder are faced with little choice in terms of the type of residential stock available.
“Through the regeneration of existing neighbourhoods, and by building a range of residential stock (including apartments, town houses and villas), these issues may be resolved,” said Khawar Khan, Knight Frank research manager.
“Over the next couple of years, we expect residential prices to continue to rise in Riyadh as the city’s rising population exacerbates the already acute housing shortage.
Beyond that period, improving infrastructure, as well as new international developers entering the market, should boost construction activity and thus housing completions,” he said.