Boom Town

Riyadh among top 15 fastest-growing cities over next 10 years

Saudi Arabia’s capital is the only urban center outside of Asia to make the top 15, according to Savills Growth Hubs Index

A large number of construction cranes seen on the horizon near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Getty Images)

Even as the most audacious blueprints for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s Vision 2030 are revised, Riyadh is still poised to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the world over the next decade as the kingdom’s mega-projects take root, according to British property consultancy Savills. 

Saudi Arabia’s capital city landed in the top 15 fastest-growing cities by 2033 — the only urban center outside of Asia on the list — according to the Savills Growth Hubs Index.

Indian and Chinese cities take five spots each in the top 15, followed by Vietnam with two, and the Philippines, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia with one each. The ranking is a compilation of forecasts of population, wealth and economic expansion. 

Riyadh is at the center of the kingdom’s diversification push away from oil as the city serves as regional headquarters to an influx of international companies.

Major new developments are also underway to improve livability. The mixed-use property development New Murabba and a new metro system are under construction as the city prepares to host the World Expo in 2030 and vies for the World Cup in 2034. 

The Middle East’s third largest city is expected to record a 26% uptick in population, taking Riyadh from 5.9 million to 9.2 million residents in 10 years. The new-arrivals boom is expected to result in continued government spending on massive infrastructure projects as well as improved amenities and services to accommodate the growing population, according to Savills.

“Saudi Arabia boasts a population of around 36 million people and, astonishingly, 67% are under the age of 35,” Richard Paul, Head of Professional Services & Consultancy Middle East, said in the report.

“The employment potential and ultimate spending power of this segment of the population over the next decade are enormous.”