Study looks at plan to let expats buy homes

MUSCAT, Oct 23 – A proposal allowing expatriates to own properties in designated places in the Sultanate is under the active consideration of the Ministry of Housing. An indication to this regard was given to the Observer by a top official at the ministry.
“The ministry is studying the possibility of enacting regulations that will allow expatriates to buy properties in designated areas other than the Integrated Tourism Complexes (ITCs) in Oman,” said the official.
Currently, expatriates are allowed to own properties for residential or investment purposes in integrated tourism complexes licensed by competent government agencies.
At the same time, citizens from GCC countries can purchase residential, industrial and commercial properties, but not agricultural properties.
The ITC projects where foreigners can own a house or a flat include Al Mouj, Barr Al Jissah, Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club, Al Siffah Resort, Saraya Bandar Jissah Muscat Bay and Salalah Beach Resort.
According to data from National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the number of GCC citizens purchasing property in Oman has risen by nearly 17.63 per cent compared with the previous year.
NCSI data shows 1,038 Gulf nationals purchased property in Oman through August, compared with 855 during the same
time in 2017.
Expatriates owning property for accommodation or investment and their relatives may be granted residence permit.
“The move will not only help scores of expats who have been residing in Oman for several years but also will give a boost to Oman’s real estate sector, thereby benefiting the local economy,”
said the official.
Earlier, talking to the Observer, a source said, “Foreigners may be allowed to buy properties in areas other than the ITCs along with regulations that the move will not lead to any rise in land prices nor will it affect Omani tradition and culture.”
According to him, real estate plays a major role in bringing in foreign investment as is evident from the demand for properties in the ongoing ITC projects.