Housing plays a key role in our quality of life. It is important that countries understand and analyse their housing sectors to evaluate the “effects of national level policies on housing supply at the other and assess the efficiency and equity of housing policies” (Tipple, 2003:2). Ultimately governments put into place policies that assist local councils to plan, build, and manage places where people live. This includes policies that relate to diverse issues such as renting, public housing, and affordability, a concept that has “become a more important issue in housing Policy” in recent years (Bramley, 2012:133).

Saudi Arabia is a developing country with a brief history of less than 90 years. Driven by the discovery of Oil in 1938, the country has gone through massive economic development and population growth in a very brief period. While this rapid urbanization process has affected all sectors in Saudi Arabia, the residential sector specifically has struggled to adapt to the realities of these changes.

From a governmental perspective, support for the housing sector is limited to government budget allocations that lack strong governmental policy. In addition, there is no clear standard system concerning means of supporting housing (GIZ, 2013). Policies to promote the provision of affordable housing have largely failed.

Therefore, this research aims to develop an affordable housing model that is applicable to middle-income households in Saudi Arabia. This is by identifying the critical drivers that influence the development of affordable housing solutions from both a planning policy and socio-cultural perspective in Saudi Arabia. These critical elements have directly contributed to the development and understanding of affordable housing policy as well as in conceptualizing the process for the purpose of this research. So, this paper will review the housing policy context within Saudi Arabia and present some of the initial findings from the analysis conducted.