The expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca is sending land prices soaring, with a single square metre of land costing as much as $133,000, according to a local newspaper.

“This is the one place in the world where land is so expensive. Land in Mecca, especially close to the Grand Mosque, has become more precious than gold and diamonds,” Saudi real estate investor Ahmad Al-Ghamdi told Arab News.

Al-Ghamdi explained that investment cartels are competively seeking to gain a foothold in Islam’s holiest city due to the millions of Muslims who fly into Makkah every year. He added that the demand for housing from Mecca's residents alone had increased by 54%.