Newly constructed private villas are seen near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 29, 2018. Picture taken May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman wants to build a mega-city with the latest robotics under his grand plan to reform the kingdom. Civil servant Amer al-Ghamdi has a simpler dream: to buy an affordable home. Whether Ghamdi and some 1.2 million Saudis in a similar financial position manage to do so will be vital if the crown prince is to convince his people the reform plan will benefit not just the super-rich. Ghamdi, 35, spends most of his $2,670 monthly wage paying back loans he took to get married and buy a car. A 250-square-meter house in Saudi Arabia's cities costs from 700,000 to 850,000 riyals ($186,000 to $226,000), said Ibrahim Albuloushi, head of American property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle in Saudi Arabia.The ministry wants 60 percent of Saudis to own homes by 2020 .Some 500,000 Saudis are on a waiting list for the Saudi Real Estate Development Fund, an arm of the Housing Ministry which offers Saudis interest-free loans to buy state-backed houses which cost around 650,000 riyals. This can be paid in long-term monthly installments of up to 2,500 riyals each. Salman al-Shedoukhi, a 30-year-old engineer with a monthly income of 15,000 riyals, also wonders if he will ever receive a government-backed house.
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