Rent hikes make life hard for young tenants in KSA

Young people looking for reasonably priced flats in Jeddah are seeing their dreams dashed as rents continue to soar, with two- and three-bedroom apartments now fetching SR 30,000 and up.

There is an acute housing shortage in Jeddah. Real estate agents say that available housing units in the city do not exceed five percent of all units in the city.

This has resulted in two-room apartments going for a minimum of SR 28,000 a year and four-room apartments going for more than SR 40,000.

Muhammad Salah, a young Yemeni living in Jeddah, said, “I’m looking for a four-room apartment with a reasonable price so that I can move in when I get married next month. I’ve been looking for four months but without any luck.” Salah blames landlords’ self-indulgence for the lack of affordable apartments. In the past, he said, it was no difficult to find a four-room apartment for no more than SR 20,000.

“Now,” he said, “landlords are cashing in on the huge demand for residential apartments.” A committee from JCCI found that apartment sales in the city were down some 20 percent because of high prices.

Some apartments, the committee found, were being sold at up to 50 percent above the fair price.

For their part, some landlords claim that an increase in the price of building materials has forced them to raise prices.

“Construction material prices have increased by 20 percent. Therefore, prices reflect building costs. Any landlord must be interested in making back the cost of a building within two year,” according to Abdullah Saneea, landlord of a new building.

Saeed Taleb, a young Saudi in search of a three-room apartment said, “I am still staying in a hotel after moving to Jeddah from Riyadh. I have failed to find a suitable home with a reasonable rent. There has been an unreasonable hike in the rents of residential apartments,” he said.

“After wasting lot of time searching for a flat, I could find only a small apartment for an annual rent of SR 25,000. But I was surprised to find out this apartment was only for families.”