Saudi Arabia's Energy Era - 80 Years

Al Braikan ... optimistic

Al Braikan ... optimistic

Retal targets the mid-income sector in Eastern Province

The firm’s Ewan Al Nawras project, construction on which started in January 2013, features 78 villas in three distinctive designs. Being built in two phases, the first comprises 40 villas which are expected to be finished by the first quarter of 2014

ESTABLISHED in 2012 under the umbrella of Saudi Arabia’s diversified Al Fozan group, Retal Urban Development Company (Retal) is helping meet rapidly rising demand for affordable housing in the kingdom’s Eastern Province.

“Our target market is middle income Saudi families looking to own houses at affordable prices,” says Eng Abdullah Al Braikan, Retal’s general manager.

“Land prices in the Eastern province are high and the Real Estate Development Fund is faced with the challenge of approving a long backlog of loans. It recently released 10,000 loans dating from 1416 (Islamic calendar, corresponding to May 1995 in the Gregorian calendar), which reflects the challenges it faces in making approvals.”

Retal’s Ewan Al Nawras project, construction on which started in January 2013, features 78 villas in three distinctive designs. Being built in two phases, the first comprises 40 villas which are expected to be finished by the first quarter of 2014.

Work has also started on the remaining 38 villas. There are three villa design types in the development, two with four bedrooms and one three-bedroom option.

Situated at attractive location with easy access to the King Fahad Causeway linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the project is also in close vicinity to existing amenities such as Al Shubaili Mall, as well as large planned projects such as Al Khobar University.

“Ewan Al Nawras enjoys excellent access to the heart of the main population and service centres of the Eastern Province, including Al Khobar, Dammam and Dhahran,” says Raed Kalbouneh, sales and marketing director, Retal.

One of the projects executed by Retal

“It is also close to the waterfront and Half Moon Beach, providing an important lifestyle element which is especially attractive for families,” he adds.

Sales of the Ewan Al Nawras project have already started, says Kalbouneh. “Feedback has been very positive, including from Aramco employees who appreciate the convenient location and value proposition of the villas,” he states.

He points out that the exterior design of the project was created in association with leading design consultancies from Saudi Arabia and Dubai, injecting a truly international cutting edge element to this uniquely Saudi real estate development.

Al Braikan says that Retal, as an Al Fozan subsidiary, enjoys not only greater economies of scale and competitive pricing compared to its rivals when sourcing high quality materials, but can also more easily overcome constraints such as labour availability, an increasingly common problem faced by companies in the rapidly-expanding Saudi economy.

He adds that the strategic decision of investing in a new project such as Ewan Al Nawras was taken only after extensive and exhaustive market surveys, which took up to six months, to gauge demand and taste trends.

“The surveys, conducted by questionnaire, helped us in determining exactly what clients want,” Al Braikan explains, “and based on that knowledge we created a development blueprint in conjunction with engineering consultants both from Saudi Arabia and overseas.

“For example the Ewan Al Nawras project includes a three-bedroom villa option, which is unique in Saudi Arabia where clients traditionally require a greater number of bedrooms. But our market research showed that 68 per cent of respondents planned to have only two to three children, and that they didn’t need more bedrooms, so we used the space to create a more spacious, open plan villa.

Kalbouneh says prospective home owners can enjoy complete peace of mind when purchasing a new home through Retal, not just because of the superior design but also due to finishing quality of its projects.

“For example we fully respect the anticipated completion and delivery dates that we give our clients for our projects to reinforce trust with our customers,” he explains.

“Our purchase contracts are also watertight – we make sure there are no discrepancies and that our customers know their rights and everything is clear, so both parties are fully protected,” he notes.

Al Braikan believes Retal has all the necessary ingredients to succeed in a vibrant affordable housing market.

“We believe if you have strong engineering capabilities backed by a team with intimate knowledge of the building materials, you will succeed,” he states.

As the two phases of Ewan Al Nawras move steadily towards completion, Retal is also preparing to start work on other developments in its portfolio pipeline – the 76-villa Al Qayrawan project, construction on which is expected to start in July 2013, 120-villa Al Samhanyiah project, work on which should start next year, and Retal heights, a mega project consisting of 12 apartment towers, eight storey each and above due to regulation authority, construction on which will start on July 1, 2013, according to the company.

In the near future Al Braikan says Retal is also looking to expand its horizons beyond Saudi Arabia, with the buoyant real estate markets of the neighbouring Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries of particular interest for this ambitious, highly capable, client-centric real estate developer.

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