Saudi Arabia’s national home finance company, Bidaya, may start operations by the end of this year, which will pave the way for raising low levels of home ownership in the country. In development since 2010, the company is a venture between the finance ministry’s Public Investment Fund and the Jeddah-based Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a unit of the Islamic Development Bank. Bidaya is in its last phase of development prior to launch and will submit an application for a licence as soon as regulations under the kingdom’s mortgage laws are finalised, ICD chief executive Khaled Al-Aboodi said. A shortage of affordable housing is an economic and social issue, and a source of price inflation, in the fast-growing country of about 30 million people, most of whom are under the age of 30; a lack of low- and medium-cost housing has been compounded by limited financing options for home ownership. According to Al-Aboodi, Bidaya will increase access to finance for middle-income home buyers across the Kingdom. Bidaya is an important project for the ICD and Saudi Arabia given its impact on the Saudi market and the sustainability of the sector.