Foreigners can now home hunt in 25 areas of Qatar — principally in and across the capital Doha — 9 on a freehold foundation and the remainder with 99-year leaseholds
Gas-rich Qatar has flung open its property market to foreigners, with a scheme giving these buying houses or shops the correct to name the Gulf nation residence.
The scheme, introduced in September, is the most recent in a sequence of measures designed to diversify Qatar’s economic system away from fossil gas dependency and appeal to international capital forward of the 2022 World Cup.
Well-heeled people are being invited to think about the glistening seaside tower blocks of Doha’s man-made Pearl island or the model new Lusail metropolis undertaking that flanks a World Cup stadium. Retail items in malls additionally qualify patrons for residency.
The reforms may additionally assist absorb an oversupply of items, which has left gleaming towers half-empty and seen costs drop by virtually a 3rd since 2016, in keeping with consultancy ValuStrat’s Price Index for residential property.
Previously, traders wanted sponsorship from a Qatari enterprise or particular person for residency, however now a $200,000 property buy secures short-term residency for the time period of possession. A $1 million buy buys the advantages of everlasting residency, together with free faculties and healthcare.
“The reason I didn’t buy earlier was that there was so much grey area,” mentioned advertising director Tina Chadda, a Kenyan who has lived in Qatar for 15 years.
Now she is on the lookout for “a property to live in which I can use to get permanent residency”.
“I think this will allow me to call Qatar home. I feel more comfortable now,” she advised AFP.
Chadda mentioned the visa would additionally enable her to convey her household, together with aged dad and mom, to Qatar from Nairobi.
“It’s a safe country, compared to Kenya.”
Foreigners can now home hunt in 25 areas of Qatar — principally in and across the capital Doha — 9 on a freehold foundation and the remainder with 99-year leaseholds.
Seaviews for many
Gulf nations have lengthy relied on international expertise and experience to transform their petrodollars into the area’s towering cities, however have seldom made it straightforward, or low cost, for expats to make their strikes everlasting.
Similar schemes exist elsewhere within the Gulf, however for a considerably larger outlay. Dubai presents a 10-year residency visa for an funding of $2.7 million, 40 % of which should be in property.
So-called “golden visas” and funding passport schemes in a number of international locations have additionally confronted scrutiny over allegations they’ve attracted corrupt people and cash laundering.
In Qatar’s case, it stays unclear how engaging the tiny, ultra-conservative nation — the place strict curbs apply to free speech and alcohol gross sales — shall be to rich world patrons.
Investment of $200,000 buys a 50 sq. metre (540 sq. foot) studio in Lusail’s new Fox Hills growth north of Doha, whereas $1 million would cowl a 330 sq. metre three-bed seaview condo within the Pearl.
“These areas have been designated because they have new and developed infrastructure… as well as a distinctive view of the sea for most,” mentioned justice ministry official Saeed Abdullah al-Suwaidi.
“There is no big demand, but we are trying to encourage real estate investment,” he added. “(We) aim to diversify the economy and not depend on oil and gas.”
This marks a step change within the Gulf emirate, the place 90 % of the two.75 million individuals are short-term visitor employees, principally employed on initiatives linked to the 2022 event.
‘Hype round 2022’
One property agent selling the scheme to shoppers mentioned, “the whole idea is to have expats and locals working together and trying to promote a long-term outlook for Qatar.”
“As the hype around 2022 increases, I think this will naturally create more demand,” mentioned Doha-based Sotheby’s property agent Oliver Essex.
In a report issued final month, auditor KPMG mentioned the residential property had not been as laborious hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic as different actual estates in Qatar, with residential transactions value $1.48 billion reported within the second quarter of 2020.
“However, COVID-19 measures have resulted in authorities and personal layoffs, which is not directly resulting in the exodus of a considerable workforce,” it mentioned.
The coverage shakeup comes at a time of political disaster, with Qatar underneath an financial and diplomatic boycott by its neighbours — miserable demand for Qatari property — and confronted with low oil costs, which have additionally undermined costs in different Gulf capitals.
Essex mentioned he anticipated a lot of the preliminary curiosity to come back from foreigners already residing in Qatar somewhat than from traders based mostly overseas.
“I believe mainly Lebanese, Iranians, Egyptian and Indians” shall be initially, he mentioned.
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