Al Tahaluf Real Estate, a Chairman’s Circle member of the U.S.-Saudi Business Council (USSBC) and one of the largest homebuilders in Saudi Arabia, has maintained a leading presence in the Kingdom for over 60 years. Tyler Lewis, Director of Residential Development at Al Tahaluf Real Estate, recently spoke with the Council about the company’s multinational heritage, innovative designs and solutions, and provided insight into the Kingdom’s current real estate market.
Al-Tahaluf is renowned as a real estate powerhouse, combining expertise from international markets through its founders: Saudi-based Hamad Bin Mohammad Bin Saedan Real Estate Investment Group and U.S.-based K. Hovnanian Homes. How has your multinational heritage shaped the way Al-Tahaluf does business and designs its homes?
We are proud to be one of the most successful US-Saudi partnerships in the homebuilding industry in the Kingdom, and this partnership lies at the heart of our success. The K. Hovnanian company is a US-based, NY stock exchange-listed builder that annually delivers over 3,000 homes nationwide, making it one of the largest builders in the USA. The Bin Saedan family is personally responsible for much of the development of Riyadh over the last 40 years. By taking the homebuilding expertise of the K. Hovnanian company in the US and the real estate knowledge and history of the Bin Saedan family in Saudi Arabia, we have been able to build a working partnership that enables us to leverage best practices in management, finance, design, and construction from both a local and international perspective. We aim to deliver high-quality homes that are built to last and provide Saudi families with a lifetime of memories. We approach home design from a local and international perspective by working with international designers, such as Piet Boone, to bring a refined, elegant touch to our homes while maintaining the design aspects that make Saudi homes so comfortable and cherished.
Can you briefly speak about the current state of Saudi Arabia’s real estate market and why potential investors might be interested in working with Al-Tahaluf to develop housing communities in the Kingdom?
The historically-fragmented homebuilding market in Saudi Arabia is becoming more sophisticated and consolidated to meet the needs of the Saudi people. There is currently a shortage of over 1,000,000 houses in the Kingdom, and part of Vision 2030 is to ensure quality housing for all citizens and residents of the Kingdom. More and more businesses are being attracted to the Kingdom daily. Saudi Arabia is becoming noticed as a desirable place to live and work, placing increased demand on the homebuilding industry. It is more important now than ever that companies like Al Tahaluf work diligently to deliver homes in an efficient, professional manner to keep supply steady while demand grows. This need represents a great opportunity for Al Tahaluf and land developers looking for high return on investment. This opportunity has attracted many companies looking to find success in Saudi Arabia, but we’ve seen many companies start and collapse because they try to operate in a way that doesn’t work here. By working with a company that has been successful at navigating the homebuilding landscape in the Kingdom for over 11 years, developers can ensure that they are partnered with someone who can deliver on their goals. We are actively seeking partnerships with landowners to identify new projects to work on and look forward to private ventures becoming a larger part of our business.
What are some of your more notable projects across the Kingdom? Does Al-Tahaluf have any plans to expand outside of Saudi Arabia?
Al Tahaluf has just completed the successful construction of over 2,200 homes in our Ishraq Living development in Northern Riyadh. Our largest project to date, Ishraq living was a partnership with the Ministry of Housing (MOH) to deliver high quality homes to first-time homebuyers in Riyadh. This marks our sixth housing development in the Kingdom and first major partnership with the MOH. Another notable development is the Jawaher development, in which we partnered with famed designer Piet Boone to deliver beautiful, upscale homes in Riyadh. While we don’t currently have our sights set outside of the Kingdom, we have just signed our first deal outside of Riyadh with the MOH and hope to have more coming, but we cannot share details of this yet! Our goal is to continue to expand inside and outside of Riyadh to deliver our quality homes to Saudis all over the country and become the premier home builder in the Kingdom.
In 2017, Al Tahaluf collaborated with the Ministry of Housing to develop the Eskan housing scheme in eastern Riyadh – can you talk about how public-private partnerships like this one fit into your development strategy and how your relationship with these authorities have changed over time?
We are proud to have worked with the MOH for the last five years to help pursue the 2030 vision of providing affordable homes to all Saudis. Our partnership with the MOH has been a valuable part of our strategy in the Kingdom – to pursue a diversity of projects that include government partnerships, private joint ventures, and self-developed communities. Working with the government, we have been able to learn from each other and help bring the homebuilding industry and the government into closer partnership through continual feedback. The government has proved to be a reliable, loyal, and supportive partner, always seeking to provide assistance where needed to ensure that developers can successfully build homes in the Kingdom. We are grateful to be in partnership with the National Housing Company (NHC) and MOH and hope to continue working with them for years to come and are thrilled to see the progress they have made in the industry here.
What technologies, innovations, and design experience does Al-Tahaluf utilize when developing modern homes for the Saudi housing market? Can you speak about any green building technologies and other sustainability innovations that Al Tahaluf incorporates in its developments?
Al Tahaluf was one of the first home builders in the Kingdom to utilize pre-cast wall construction for our homes. Utilizing pre-cast concrete panels greatly increases the efficiency and accuracy with which the homes can be built and also improve performance and durability. Pre-cast panels are also better for the environment: since precast is factory-made and typically manufactured using exact-batch technology, there is little to no waste created either in the plant or on-site. On top of that, with precast concrete products, there’s no risk of toxic byproducts leaching into the ground or into the water supply. Precast manufacturers can also recycle waste material, resulting in less material being sent to landfills or dumps. Concrete is an excellent material for homebuilding in Saudi Arabia because it stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, requiring less energy to maintain a comfortable home.
Why do your customers decide to choose Al-Tahaluf? Can you speak about financing and other inducements that you offer to your customers when they buy your homes?
The first reason that people choose to buy an Al Tahaluf home is quality. Our homes are manufactured with a high degree of attention to detail with the best materials and are built to withstand the test of time. We back that up with an excellent design, thoughtful layout, and above-and-beyond support. We guarantee and warranty some aspects of the home for up to 10 years and help our customers when things go wrong. On top of that, our sales and customer support team is second to none. Where other builders may stop responding once you’ve closed on your home, our team holds your hand through the whole process and beyond the close to ensure that your homebuying experience is as smooth and stress-free as possible. And while we don’t offer in-house financing, our sales team is extremely knowledgeable on the whole process of financing your new home and is able to walk the customer through the process of making homeownership a reality.