On behalf of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Prince Naif bin Salman inaugurated the Riyadh International Urban Development and Real Estate Investment Event on Sunday.The event, which has doubled its floor area this year compared to last year, is being officially supported by Arriyadh Development Authority and Riyadh Municipality.The National Exhibitions Company and Informa Saudi Arabia is organizing the three-day show for the second successive year. The event, which drew some 5,000 visitors last year, is expected to attract more than 10,000 stakeholders.The show is taking place at the Riyadh Exhibition Center on King Fahad Road/Olaya Road (opposite the Saudi Arabian Airlines office).The new venue,the Riyadh Exhibition Center, provides a spacious 9,000 square meters of display area for exhibitors and sponsors such as Arriyadh Development Authority and Riyadh Municipality (official supporters), Ewaan Global Residential Company (founding sponsor), Affordable House Company (principal sponsor), Jenan Real Estate (premier sponsor), Dar Al-Tamleek (silver sponsor), as well as WorkingBuildings Companies (conference sustainability sponsor). The major show coincided with the opening of the Riyadh Real Estate Summit on the sidelines of the exhibition.“The real estate sector is set to become one of the main attractions for investments. According to the Kingdom’s Ninth Development Plan, the real estate sector is expected to grow by an annual rate of 7 percent until 2014,” Fahad Al-Sultan, secretary general of the Council of Saudi Chambers, said in his inaugural address.Al-Sultan also said all indicators showed that investments in the real estate sector will exceed SR82 billion in the next 3 years, with expectations for investments in building new properties to grow to SR484 billion by 2020.Prominent speakers included Ahmed M. Assubail, director general of Strategic Urban Planning Department at Arriyadh Development Authority; Radwan Hariri, head of Development and Operations at Oger Real Estate, Saudi Arabia; Bassam M. Boodai, CEO of Jenan Real Estate; Raeyd Al-Dakheel, CEO of Mawten Real Estate; and Michael L. Weiss, managing principal and president of this year’s conference sustainability sponsor, The WorkingBuildings Companies.“The real estate market in Saudi Arabia is buzzing, which is not only indicated by the number of real estate developers present but also by the increasing presence of financial institutions such as Dar Al-Tamleek, NCB and Samba Bank, among others, which mirrors the increasing demand for home financing,” said Hussain Al-Harthi, managing director of National Exhibitions Company.Al-Harthi indicated that there is a growing speculation about a special authority being set up to oversee the real estate sector in the Kingdom.The authority will define the rules and responsibilities governing the sector’s activities which will have an even more positive impact on the real estate market, narrowing the gap between supply and demand in the Kingdom.Ewan Global Residential Company showcased its SR1.2 billion Al-Fareeda mega residential city that is currently being developed north of Jeddah.The company announced that it has acquired a 350,000 sq m piece of land in Jeddah to develop another residential project similar for Al-Fareeda.The new project is set to meet the increasing demand for residential units in the city.“We have plans to expand our business into other cities in the Kingdom including Riyadh and Dammam,” said Fahad Mohammad Al-Mutawa, CEO of Ewaan Global Residential.“Our presence in this event provides us with a unique opportunity to network with industry experts and explore new partnerships with investors and real estate players.”The exhibition has also attracted international exhibitors such as the property agency Chesterton International, who are a registered company in the region.“London has a great track record of strong growth and performance and is a international trade, investment and tourism hub which makes it particular interesting for investors from all over the world and especially the region,” said Simon Gray, managing director, MENA at Chesterton International.“Our objective is to secure the largest number of housing opportunities by providing residential units characterized by the highest standard specifications and unique designs at reasonable prices in order to provide people, and especially the youth segment in the Kingdom, with feasible real estate investment opportunities,” Mohammed Abdullah bin Saedan, managing director at Affordable House Company said“We launched our new website and we will sign an agreement during the event which will position as one of the pioneering companies in the real estate development sector in Saudi Arabia,” he added.“A total of 579,193 Saudi citizens have applied for housing loans from the Real Estate Development Fund (REDF). Affordable housing is still one of the most pressing issues in the Kingdom and therefore is one of the focal points during the Riyadh Real Estate Summit,” said Deep Marwaha, general manager of Informa Saudi Arabia.“The summit presents a distinguished and high profile line up of Industry experts in a large scale, content driven and exclusive conference arena. These participants provide presentations and engage in strategic debate covering the latest insight into real estate investment, development and design in the Kingdom,” Marwaha added.