Saudi Arabia could allow foreigners to buy property in Mecca and Medina
Foreigners will soon be able to own property of all kinds across Saudi Arabia, the head of the country's real estate authority has said - potentially even in the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
Non-Saudis would be able to purchase agricultural, commercial, and residential properties in the country, Real Estate General Authority CEO Abdullah Alhamad told Saudi channel Rotana Khalijiya last week.
Alhamad said more details on how the purchases would work would be released soon.
Pressed by the interviewer on whether the decision would apply to Mecca and Medina - where entry to non-Muslims is heavily restricted - Alhamad said it applied to "all places", but that it would be "subject to controls".
Saudi Arabia is looking to attract massive investment to fund its ambitious Vision 2030 plans, which include the $500 billion megacity of NEOM.
In 2021, Riyadh decided to allow foreigners to own property in the two holy cities - though only indirectly, through investment funds.
Proposals to allow foreigners to own properties outright have been made before, with the investment minister putting the idea forward last year.
The Gulf states usually restrict foreign property ownership to certain investment zones.