Saudi Arabia to become a top global construction hub thanks to $1.25tn investment

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Saudi Arabia is set to become one of the world’s largest construction hubs thanks to more than $1.25 trillion of infrastructure and real estate projects in the pipeline, according to real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank.

The firm’s annual Saudi Giga Projects report noted the combined value of commissioned infrastructure and real estate developments has already reached $250 billion, with the remaining figure made up of projects yet to be fully approved or given a construction start date.

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With the Vision 2030 deadline drawing nearer, Saudi Arabia’s real estate developments, considered the largest globally, are gaining momentum, said Faisal Durrani, partner and head of research for the Middle East and North Africa at Knight Frank.

Durrani also added that the number of planned residential units has surged by 30 percent to 660,000 units over the past year, which is likely to be a positive development for house hunters who have been prevented by the recent surge in property prices.

Taking a closer look at various regions experiencing heightened construction activities, Knight Frank’s analysis underlined that the western part of Saudi Arabia continues to play a pivotal role in the country’s ambitious transformation plan, with an expected $687 billion worth of real estate projects scheduled for completion by the end of the decade.

The report highlighted projects such as the $500 billion NEOM metropolis, Turogina, the location for the 2030 Asian Games, and Senda Island, a prominent tourist destination.

Knight Frank’s Harmen de Jong, partner – head of strategy & consultancy, Saudi Arabia, added: “NEOM overall is also progressing rapidly, with $70 billion of projects now awarded, 45 percent of which has been completed.”

Riyadh follows closely, contributing 18 percent to the total real estate and development projects currently underway in the Kingdom. The plan includes the construction of over 241,000 homes by 2030, in addition to around 3.6 million sq. meters of office space, as outlined by Knight Frank.

“Riyadh is a hive of construction activity as the city races to keep pace with demand in all real estate segments, while also balancing its vision to emerge as a key global financial and commercial capital,” Durrani said.

While the $229 billion development pipeline is substantial, he said it represents only around a quarter of the planned $1 trillion total spend aimed at transforming the capital.

Notably, Riyadh aims to secure hosting rights for the 2030 World Expo, a prospect that could accelerate the transformation pace and solidify the city’s ambitious vision, added Durrani.

On the entertainment front, there is a growing focus on projects like Qiddiya’s recent expansion into Jeddah with the $266 million Qiddiya Coast theme park and the $500 million Riyadh Sports Boulevard.