How Sheikh Abdullatif Alshelash Went From Real Estate Magnate to Home Loan Innovator 

Without Sheikh Abdullatif Al Shelash and Saudi Home Loans (SHL), the Saudi home loan market would look like a different landscape. Saudi Home Loans went public two months ago and under Sheikh Abdullatif Al Shelash’s leadership, it’s raised $423 million from retail investors in its initial public offering on the Saudi stock exchange. 

According to saudihomeloans.com, the company is also on a mission to strengthen home ownership in Saudi Arabia by using cutting-edge technologies and Sharia-compliant solutions to obtain mortgages. This means that Saudi Home Loans products are developed with a Sharia supervisory board, consisting of a panel of Islamic scholars, to allow total compliance with Sharia principles. Saudi Home Loans also bases its loans on the criteria of current income, credit score, home finance installments, and complete customer obligations. Through Saudi Home Loans, the minimum monthly income is 5,000 Saudi Arabian riyal or $1,331.91 to receive financing. 

Saudi Home Loans Stays Connected To Potential Clients Through Social Media

Through its Instagram page, @saudihomeloans, SHL says it offers clients construction design financing, mortgage financing, and financing options for commercial investment properties as well as financing after retirement age. The home loan entity also says it’s committed to helping clients learn the benefits of home ownership, available options, and the unique services it offers. The firm also celebrated officially listing its shares in Saudi trading in April. The brand’s Instagram page says it’s also dedicated to empowering its clients and communities toward building a better tomorrow and offers flexible procedures for clients, including a quick quote and affordability calculator through its website.

According to Sheikh Abdullatif Al Shelash, Saudi Home Loans forever altered how Saudis obtain a house and actually adopted more of a Western approach to mortgage financing. 

“They were the first among the companies to promote home finance,” Abdullatif Al Shelash says. 

For many Saudis, Abdullatif Al Shelash says culturally, it was commonplace to pay the full amount for a house up front. Then, the concept of mortgages was introduced, opening doors to new possibilities for more families in the region. 

“We can give you a mortgage over 15, 20, or 25 years, and you can actually go and live in your home today,” Abdullatif Al Shelash says. 

The financing allowed newlyweds or those living with their parents to finally take the leap to purchase a home. As a family man with sons, Abdullatif Al Shelash says he sees firsthand the importance of the work Saudi Home Loans is doing and continues to be involved with the promotion of the collaboration between the private and the public sector in the real estate industry.

​​Saudi Home Loans also helped with urbanization in Saudi Arabia. “Many people could not afford to think of buying a house to live in the city; they were living in the suburbs,” he says. “So they moved into the city because of that ability of home loans and mortgages.”

Abdullatif Al Shelash Has an Extensive Real Estate Background

Prior to Saudi Home Loans, Sheikh Abdullatif Al Shelash served as managing director of Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company from 2005 to 2019. With more than 18 years of experience working in financial management systems, Sheikh Abdullatif Al Shelash says one of the most essential secrets to his success in real estate has been cash flow management.

With a background in leadership, Sheikh Abdullatif Al Shelash overcame several obstacles. The former managing director of Dar Al Arkan oversaw the company’s early development in Saudi Arabia when it gained the first permit to build a total development project — which is still one of a kind with 2,500 apartments, 500 offices, and one of the biggest malls in Saudi Arabia’s capital city, Riyadh. Abdullatif Al Shelash eventually left Dar Al Arkan in 2017. The company is now valued at approximately $3.9 billion with $8.2 billion in assets. 

Through his work with Saudi Home Loans, it became the first company established in Saudi Arabia to assist Saudi nationals in buying their home with a mortgage. Abdullatif Al Shelash was a founder and remains a board member of the enterprise. 

“It was among the first bank and finance companies that were also providing a complete solution,” Abdullatif Al Shelash says. 

Sheikh Abdullatif Al Shelash Brought Innovation to Home Loans

Founded in 2008, SHL was a fresh concept for home finance in Saudi Arabia.

“During that time, even the World Bank was very much interested in promoting home ownership and the home financing in Saudi,” Abdullatif Al Shelash says. “The brand of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, took a share in the company, Saudi Home Loans, and they also financed the company to provide these loans. I was instrumental in working with bringing IFC to this company and having the IFC supporting home loans and home ownership in Saudi.”

During that time, Arab News reported that only 22% of Saudi citizens owned homes and the majority resided in rental properties. According to Al Arabiya news, that number jumped to 60% in 2020, and by the end of 2030 is slated to rise to 70%. 

In 2017, Saudi Home Loans earned the accolade of Best Real Estate Finance Company in Saudi Arabia at the Arab Enterprise Awards, and that same year it won the KSA Best New Investment Product award.

According to saudihomeloans.com, customer satisfaction remains at the forefront of the business’s goals. SHL has also been dedicated to giving back to those in need in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In 2019 during Ramadan, to further its social responsibility efforts, Saudi Home Loans began assisting families in need by providing home restorations with plumbing and electrical upgrades as well as furniture. Saudihomeloans.com states, “We started this initiative with full support from our youth volunteers who believed in our vision and the goodness we’re aiming for and helped in making all this to be reality.”