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Saudi Arabia to form housing refinancing company

[DUBAI] Saudi Housing Minister Majed al-Hogail announced on Tuesday the formation of a company to refinance up to US$13.33 billion for the kingdom's housing sector over the next five years, state news agency SPA said.

It said the new firm would be called the Saudi Refinancing Company but provided no further details.

Saudi authorities outlined plans earlier this year to raise the proportion of Saudis who own their own homes by 5 percentage points to 52 per cent by 2020.

The initiative is part of an ambitious reform agenda to diversify the economy of the world's top oil exporter away from hydrocarbons as global crude prices have slumped.

Mr Al-Hogail's announcement appears to be part of long-awaited government efforts to develop a housing mortgage sector in the conservative kingdom, where the restrictions of Islamic sharia law have made it difficult to secure lending against property.

REUTERS

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