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‘Affordable’ new suburb to be built in Mecca

Mecca suburb Makkah Gate National Housing Company
An artist's impression of Makkah Gate, the 5km² suburb planned to provide affordable housing in Mecca
  • 8,300 villas, townhouses and apartments
  • Fifth new residential suburb
  • Part of plan to boost home ownership

A fifth residential suburb in the holy city of Mecca, aimed at affordability for ordinary citizens, is to be built by Saudi Arabia’s National Housing Company. 

Mecca has seen a plethora of real estate developments aimed at affluent Saudis and Muslims from around the world, but the government is trying to balance this as part of its plan to drive up home ownership among Saudi nationals. 

The Makkah Gate suburb, announced on the NHC’s website this week, will comprise 8,300 villas, townhouses and apartments, to be constructed by five local companies: Saudi Real Estate, Ajdan Real Estate Development, Sumou Real Estate, Abdul Rahman Saad Al Rashid and sons, and Al Tahaluf Real Estate. 

It will cover 5km², and include 10 schools, 10 mosques and 16 commercial sites.

Makkah Gate follows the new Mecca suburbs of Al-Jawhara, Sadayem, Khayala and Al-Saddan, which will comprise 35,000 housing units for 168,000 residents in total.

NHC, owned by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, has a remit to provide homes “at reasonable prices”. 

Construction has boomed in Mecca over the past decade. Some of the residential projects have been controversial, particularly the luxury high rises overlooking the Grand Mosque, built by developer Jabal Omar. 

In January the government announced a golden visa scheme for owners of property worth at least SAR4 million ($1 million) as part of its drive to increase foreign investment and tourism in the country, which is expected to increase the luxury homes market in Mecca and Medina. 

The Saudi giga-project Roshn said in April it will also build a residential suburb for 17,000 people in Mecca, called Almanar. Roshn said its villas, duplexes and townhouses would cater to middle income Saudis, though Roshn projects a luxury image in general. 

The government wants to push home ownership among Saudi nationals up to 70 percent by 2030. Home ownership was put at 61 percent at the end of 2022, in the last official census. 

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