Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers approved on Tuesday a set of amendments to the executive regulations of the White Land Tax (WLT) program, in a move that will boost the Kingdom’s development march and supply of real estate.
According to the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, the WLT program is being implemented in its first phase in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Makkah.
The total payment orders in the four cities reached about 5,500 for a total area exceeding 411 million square meters.
The new amendments to the executive regulations stipulate three implementation phases.
The first phase includes undeveloped plots of land with an area of 10,000 square meters or more, which fall within the scope specified by the ministry.
The second phase includes developed plots of land with an area of 10,000 square meters or more for a single proprietor of 10,000 of square meters or more in one housing plan within the scope specified by the ministry.
The third phase covers developed land with an area of 5,000 square meters or more, and the total area of developed plots of land for a single owner is 10,000 square meters or more in one city within the scope specified by the ministry.
According to economic expert Ahmed al-Shahri, the WLT program and the new amendments help free residential plots from controlling monopolies, especially at a time when increasing housing costs continue to negatively affect property ownership rates among young families.
In 2016, Saudi Arabia decided to capitalize on undeveloped land in urban areas, which makes up 30 percent of those areas. A 2.5% tax, based on land value, was issued to landowners who had purchased plots but left them undeveloped.
The WLT program aims to increase the volume of plots available to develop urban areas, offer residential land at reasonable prices, and provide fair competition