By Arab News
By Frank Kane
Most investors in Saudi Arabia are committed to real estate as their main investment vehicle, but many are looking outside the Kingdom for opportunities in the property market, according to a new survey of investment patterns among residents.
Some 85 percent of Saudi residents have invested in property at some stage, but over half of respondents are considering putting their cash into international real estate, the survey, by market research firm YouGov on behalf of British property developer Select Group, reveals.
“Investor confidence is only further evidenced by the frequency in which investments are being made. The results found that almost a quarter (23 percent) of investors based in Saudi Arabia look to make a new investment at least every three months.
“Respondents were asked to consider their previous and potential future investments in bonds, stocks and real estate – both domestically and internationally – as well as mutual funds, bank products, gold and precious metals, cryptocurrency and fine art. Across every category, respondents demonstrated a desire to increase their level of investment in the coming years,” the report said.
Despite cryptocurrency being in its relative infancy as an asset, 5 percent of respondents based in Saudi Arabia declared they have already spent over $500,000 in the digital currency, though investment levels collectively still trail far behind more traditional asset classes, such as real estate.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority has warned of the “risky and speculative” nature of crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, while welcoming blockchain as an innovative financial technology.
“The results show that investors in this region are highly motivated and it’s interesting to see the mix of key investment choices among the varying demographics. It’s promising to see that Saudi Arabia residents are also inclined to make regular investments, constantly keeping an eye on the market and looking to capitalize on the latest opportunities,” said Adam Price, managing director at Select Property Group.
Investors in Saudi Arabia and the UAE accounted for the highest proportion of the “very knowledgeable” category in the survey.
In the wider Gulf, most investors looking at overseas property were interested in residential real estate (44 percent) with 27 percent eyeing commercial property.
The UAE is the preferred market for 28 percent of GCC investors, with 16 percent interested in the US and 1 percent naming the UK as their preferred destination. Some 11 percent looked favorably on Turkish real estate.