Drop in GCC nationals buying real estate

GCC citizens bought a total of 938 properties between January and September 2017 as against 1,496 in the same period of 2016, a 37.3 per cent drop. A total of 1,912 properties were bought by GCC citizens in 2016 compared with 2,228 in 2015, a drop of 16.5 per cent.
As per the statistics released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), in the last three months, 106 properties were purchased in July, 159 in August and 83 in September.
Real estate trading worth RO 217 million was conducted, according to the Ministry of Housing.
The ministry on Tuesday said GCC nationals had bought 105 properties in October, of which 45 per cent were from UAE, 33 per cent from Kuwait and 10 per cent from Saudi Arabia.
Under the current law, the right to land in Oman has been extended to GCC nationals and wholly GCC-owned companies (no non-GCC participation at any level) subject to certain exceptions.
Those purchasing undeveloped land in the Sultanate should develop it within four years of acquisition and cannot dispose of the land within four years of acquisition or until any development is completed.
Entities acquiring pursuant to the rules can own such land for investment purposes.
To boost real estate sector in Oman, the government has been working on new regulations for expatriates to own properties in Oman, subject to discussions and approval from the higher authorities.
A senior official at Ministry of Housing had earlier told the Observer, “We support ownership of properties by expatriates outside the Integrated Tourism Complexes (ITCs).”
As per plans, a percentage in certain mixed-use projects will be earmarked for expatriates. There will be no eligibility criteria such as the number of years an expatriate has to spend in Oman for owning a property. The new regulations will also address the concerns vis-à-vis the visa requirements.

Vinod Nair