Qatar is renewing efforts to make real estate more attractive to expatriate residents, foreign investors and real estate funds.
A new law will add to the limited number of locations where non-Qataris can buy real estate outright, according to a statement released recently. The country will also implement a two-tiered residency program that rewards large investors with government-provided services.
Qatar has been grappling with excess supply following a construction boom tied to the 2022 soccer World Cup, and property prices have slumped 26% since the start of 2016. Consulting firm ValuStrat estimates an oversupply of residential property reached 80,000 units at the end of the first half, with 7,250 more units expected to hit the market in 2020.
The country’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari said the new rules will benefit both domestic and international investors, and further boost the diversification of the economy.
Buyers of a property worth 3.65 million riyals ($1 million) or more will be eligible for permanent residency, with benefits including health care and education – boons typically granted only to citizens and a tiny contingent of foreigners who’ve lived in Qatar for decades.
A lower class of residency status is open to buyers of real estate worth 730,000 riyals, who can obtain renewable residency permits for themselves and their families without employer sponsorship.
The developments follow labor reforms that make it easier for foreign workers to change jobs. Al Kuwari had said those reforms seek to foster a less transient workforce of skilled professionals.
Non-Qatari individuals could own properties in nine areas while the number of areas where foreigners may use real estate has been increased to 16, a government statement said. The statement added that Qataris and non-Qatari citizens, residents and non-residents can now have the right to ownership of residential units or commercial units inside residential complexes and malls.
The nine areas covered by freehold ownership are the West Bay area (Legtaifiya), The Pearl Qatar, Al Khor Resort, Dafna (Admin District No. 60), Dafna (Admin District No. 61), Onaiza (Administrative District), Lusail, Al Kharaij, and Jabal Thuaileb.
The 16 areas where non-Qataris can use/ lease the real estate sector for a period of 99 years are: Mushaireb, Fareej Abdul Aziz, Doha Jadeeda, Al-Ghanim Al-Ateeq, Al-Riffa and Al-Hitmi Al-Ateeq, Aslata, Fereej Bin Mahmoud 22, Fereej Bin Mahmoud 23, Rawdat Al Khail, Mansoura, Fareej Bin Dirham, and Najma, Umm Ghuwailina, Al Khalaifat, Al Sadd, Al Mirqab Al Jadeed, Fareej Al Nasr and the Doha International Airport area.