Small House Designs in Saudi Arabia 1

Small House Designs in Saudi Arabia

The emergence of small house designs in Saudi Arabia is an important change to living conditions in the country. The new focus in real estate is providing small housing units that are affordable to citizens.
New ideas in Saudi Arabian society are changing the real estate market. Wealthy citizens are turning to low-cost small houses. Families are becoming smaller. Construction and land use are becoming more and more expensive. Saudi Arabia faces real challenges and benefits from the boom in the small house market. This article will cover this new territory for real estate and economy, and what it means for the country.

History of the Real Estate Market

Because of the arid conditions of the KSA, proper housing development is an essential factor in the economy. With the rise in demand for small house designs, Saudi Arabia has taken many steps to keep the real estate market alive. These changes appear in three stages over the years.

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First Stage: 1970s – 1993

Saudi Arabia saw a wave of urban population growth due to massive migration from rural areas. This prompted the government to take action in response to the increase in real estate demand. Two main approaches were taken.

The direct approach involved the creation of housing projects. Success in KSA’s oil industry saw new residential projects in Al-Malaz. Furthermore, ARAMCO employees received grants of free land. Employees of the new government institutions received housing projects. For the citizens, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing provided residences.

The indirect approach saw the availability of interest-free loans for the people of Saudi Arabia. These loans allowed more citizens to be responsible for their own housing designs. This paved the way for new residential growth in the form of residential towers and detached units.

Unfortunately, 20% of the small units in residential towers remained unoccupied. This was due to an oversight in small house designs. In Saudi Arabia, privacy is an essential factor of society, and these designs instead focused on functionality.

Second Stage: 1993 – 2005

The Gulf War raged and caused economic strain to the KSA. In response, the government pulled back its support of residential real estate. The staggering demand for housing went unanswered, and fewer home loans were made each year.

In response to the crippled housing market, the government abolished the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. The task of an efficient housing strategy was given to the Ministry of Economy and Planning.

Third Stage: 2005 – Present

Due to the high cost of land and construction, it was impossible for the poor and middle classes to own a house. The task of dealing with this new problem was assigned to the General Housing Authority. They dedicated a huge budget to support the market, and many new residential projects were created.

Recently, the Saudi Real Estate Reliance Company was launched. This company will help increase financing home ownerships by 50% by 2020.

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The Move to Small House Designs

In Saudi Arabia during April 2016, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman announced “Vision 2030.” This vigorous development program set out to transform the KSA into “a global investment powerhouse,” and “a global hub connecting three continents, Asia, Europe, and Africa.” The many programs of Vision 2030 made a huge impact on how Saudi Arabians valued housing.

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Women in Society

In past decades, Saudi Arabia has seen great changes for women. Many became successful entrepreneurs and business owners.

For others, it is a time of great achievement. One such woman was Raha Moharrak, the first woman to climb the infamous Seven Summits. Another was Hanadi Zakaria al-Hindi. She became the first Saudi female commercial airline pilot in 2005.

The impact of these changes on the real estate market is significant. More women are driving and participating in the job market. This means smaller families and fewer children. Thus, families are starting to turn from larger villas to smaller houses.

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Hanadi Zakaria al-Hindi is the first Saudi woman to become a commercial airline pilot. She was born in Mecca in September 1978.
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Raha Moharrak is the youngest Arab and the first Saudi woman to conquer Mount Everest.

Economic Changes

For decades, Saudi Arabia was very dependent on the oil industry. Economic crisis shifted the focus of the government and the people. Many Saudis lost purchasing power. This increased demand for smaller, cheaper houses instead of grand villas.

Smaller houses have the advantage of being easier and cheaper on air conditioning, an important factor in the hot climate. Housekeeping costs in a small house also saved homeowners money.

Land and construction costs became expensive, so small house designs in Saudi Arabia became more attractive. Houses used to be above 600 square meters. Now, they average 300 square meters, with about three bedrooms in two or three stories.

Lifestyle and Leisure

Saudis love to travel and visit new countries around the world. Saving money for the sake of travel became more important over the last several years. The increased demand for small houses reflected this shift in value. Not only do citizens want to save money for travel, they look beyond the home to find their pleasures.

Additionally, cinemas and opera houses are starting to appear throughout the cities. In the past, Saudi villas had specific areas built for cinema and gaming. With the creation of these new venues, those expensive additions will become less attractive to the home buyer.

Modest Home Designs in Saudi Arabia

There is a wide variety of houses in Saudi Arabia. These are housing options created for smaller units.

Compound Houses

Compounds are like small villages designed for expats. The design is often open with many facilities available for residents.

  • Gyms
  • Swimming Pools
  • Basketball, Tennis, and Football Courts
  • Cafeterias, Restaurants, and Stores

The apartments range from 80 – 200 square meters. They are usually expensive, and are only available to rent.

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Considering their size, duplexes are expensive. Once larger than 600 square meters, newer duplexes are significantly smaller, and more affordable to the public.

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Building Complex

Residential towers that have their own facilities. Designed with Saudi Arabian culture in mind, privacy is paramount.

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These are usually found in small buildings of three to four stories with no elevators. Residents buy or sell these units. Typically, they are the cheapest, and come in a variety of sizes and prices. The closer the house is to the center of a city, the more expensive it becomes.

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Saudi Arabia is rich with culture in its architectural design. Each house should have at least two entrances. One is for visitors, the other for family. A typical Saudi house is designed with about three bedrooms, two or three bathrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a living area, and a majlis.

The Majlis is a seating area for entertaining guests and friends. Hospitality is important in Middle Eastern culture. These rooms are a reflection of that value. They have pleasant and welcoming decor, with comfortable seating for visitors to meet and gather.


Many factors are changing the way Saudi Arabian citizens look at housing. Population growth, family size and income, social behavior, and lifestyle all play a role in the real estate market. The availability of leisure and entertainment venues are also considered in housing designs.

To keep up with demand, new housing designs need to keep the following in mind:

  • Respect for Saudi traditions and ethics.
  • Affordability
  • Sustainability
  • Eco-friendly architecture.

The solutions are certain to decrease the cost of construction, reduce housing prices, and increase demand for generations to come.

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