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SAUDI ARABIA - Real Estate & Construction

Saud Al Sulaimani

Country Head, JLL

Bio

Saud Al Sulaimani is Country Head at JLL and a board member of the Al Rajhi REIT Publicly Traded Fund. Prior to joining JLL, Al Sulaimani was executive director and head of real estate development at the Tourism Development Fund. Al Sulaimani holds a master’s of science in finance and a bachelor of business administration from the Kogod School of Business, American University in Washington, DC. He has participated in the MIT Sloan School of Management strategic management executive program and the London School of Economics and Political Science’s real estate economics and finance program. In addition, Al Sulaimani has professional certifications in business process design for strategic management, real estate economics and finance, and a graduate certificate in real estate. He also holds a TAQEEM License by the Saudi Authority for Accredited Valuers and an application specialist certificate from Bloomberg.

"We work with private and government clients, with the government sector currently representing a more significant portion of our clientele."

Saud Al Sulaimani, Country Head of JLL Saudi Arabia, talks to TBY about being one of the first real estate consultancies to establish itself in the Kingdom.

Can you elaborate on JLL’s operations in Saudi Arabia?

JLL is a leading and one of the world’s largest real estate firms, publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange with over 100,000 employees. With an eye on burgeoning real estate markets, we began as a small team in Saudi Arabia, specializing in real estate consultancy with a primary focus on strategic consulting and valuation services to investors, developers, private family offices, and government entities. As the business grew, we significantly expanded our service portfolio including leasing, cost management, project management, property asset management, and fit-out services for commercial spaces. Today, with over 400 employees in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and offices in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar, we have become the largest real estate service provider in the Kingdom, working on most of the key projects in the Kingdom. Our unique strength lies in offering comprehensive services across the entire real estate cycle, from valuation and feasibility studies to development, design, construction management, and facilities management managing agent. We also handle leasing and sales assignments. . JLL is prepared for what lies ahead, aiming to expand our teams and capabilities. In this context, Saudi Arabia is a pivotal and strategic market for us, and we have a long-term growth plan to maximize our services and capabilities in this region.

How would you evaluate the development of the housing sector in recent years?

Saudi Arabia’s Home Ownership Program has made remarkable progress, increasing to 67% with a target of 70% by 2030. This achievement is a result of an ecosystem that includes new financial products offered by banks and the role of the Saudi Real Estate Refinancing Company, owned by PIF, in purchasing loans to enable banks to issue more loans, thus contributing to the program’s success compared to its status five or 10 years ago. A significant shift has occurred in the housing preferences of Saudi Arabia’s predominantly young population, with 62% under the age of 40. Many now embrace apartment living, influenced by exposure to different housing styles during international scholarship programs and a broader societal shift. This change is reflected in new project announcements, where nearly every project includes a residential component centered around community living. Sustainability has become a prominent global and local priority, driven by government mandates and consumer demand for higher sustainability standards within these communities. Additionally, smart cities have gained traction, focusing on creating communities that offer residents a better quality of life through enhanced security, sustainability, and social interaction. Saudi Arabia recognized the significance of the residential sector within the real estate landscape and implemented several reforms in recent years. The Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Municipalities and Rural Affairs merged into MOHMRA due to their complementary roles, showcasing a commitment to collaboration and shared knowledge. The Real Estate General Authority (REGA), established later, plays a pivotal role in advancing the residential sector and other real estate domains. Another noteworthy addition, especially within the residential sector, is the Real Estate Registry Company (RER), owned by PIF. RER will be vital in registering all title deeds and real estate properties in the Kingdom. These entities collectively enhance transparency, the regulatory framework, and investor protection, fostering an attractive environment for investors and developers.

How is JLL’s current client portfolio structured?

We work with private and government clients, with the government sector currently representing a more significant portion of our clientele. However, we strive to maintain a balanced approach. Notably, government-backed projects like the gigaprojects in Saudi Arabia constitute a substantial part of our portfolio due to their immense scale. Recently, we have observed a growing trend in public-private partnerships, where many government-initiated opportunities are involving the private sector. This trend provides us a valuable advantage in the market, as we have experience working with both sectors independently and can now leverage this expertise in collaborative ventures, enhancing our competitiveness. 6

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