Mar 21 2012
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Skyrocketing house rent frustrates young men aspiring to get married
Speaking to Arab News, a number of young men, both Saudis and foreigners, said they find it very difficult to rent residential flats at a reasonable rate.
These youngsters claim greedy landlords have unreasonably hiked rent prices to the extent that they are unaffordable for most of them. This forced some foreigners to lease residential apartments and then share them. This happens at a time when Jeddah is facing an acute shortage of homes. According to real estate sources, the availability of housing units in the city at present does not exceed 5 percent of total homes. This situation has resulted in the annual rent of a two-room apartment shooting up to at least SR18,000 a year, while a four-room apartment costs more than SR40,000.
Hashim is worried that he will not find an apartment before his marriage, which is in two months. He said he was not able to find a two-bedroom flat in the area near his office. According to Hashim, in the past it was very easy for young men to rent even a four-room apartment for no more than SR20,000. "But now landlords are cashing in on the huge demand for residential apartments," he added.
"After wasting a lot of time in search of a flat, I could find only a studio apartment for an annual rent of SR20,000. But I was surprised to find out this apartment was only for families," he said.
Meanwhile, a new trend where tenants move in together and divide the flat up among themselves is gaining popularity in the city. Many foreigners see this as the best way to cope with increasing rent. Bakri Khan, an Indian national who shares a residential flat after deciding to rent it, said that he resorted to this method as the only way to tackle the soaring rates of rent.
"I divided the four-room apartment into two by installing a curtain. Now each family is paying SR20,000 each," he said.
Commenting on soaring rent rates, prominent real estate expert and former chairman of the real estate committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Al-Ahmari said the increase in rent has changed the attitude of Saudi tenants who now look for small apartments instead of larger ones. He said there has been an average increase of over 30 percent in rent in Jeddah. "However, some landlords have hiked their rent prices by about 50 percent. It is very difficult for people with limited incomes to get apartments at a reasonable rate," he said, claiming there are only 2,000 available homes in Jeddah. "This is quite insufficient to meet the growing demand for homes in the wake of the rapid growth of population and arrival of more people in the city," he added.
© Arab News 2012
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