DUBAI May 4 Saudi Arabian home prices tumbled
by nearly 10 percent from a year ago in the first quarter
because of pressure on the economy from low oil prices and
government austerity measures, official data showed on Thursday.
Residential real estate prices sank 9.5 percent in the
January-March quarter, according to the General Authority for
Statistics' Real Estate Price Index. The decline accelerated
from a 7.3 percent drop in the fourth quarter of last year.
Last month, the government said that in order to stimulate
economic growth, it was restoring financial allowances for civil
servants that were cut last September to save money. But other
austerity steps are expected in coming months, so this may not
provide much support to home prices.
Commercial real estate prices plunged 11.7 percent from a
year earlier in the first quarter, the authority said.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia, editing by Pritha Sarkar)