Qatar, which is rich in gas, has opened up its real estate market to foreigners, a program that allows people to buy or store homes in the Gulf countries.
The plan, announced in September, is the latest in a series of measures aimed at diversifying Qatar’s economy away from dependence on fossil fuels and attracting foreign capital ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Well-heeled people are invited to gaze at the spectacular waterfront towers of the brand new town of Lusail, the man-made Pearl Island stadium or the World Cup stadium in Doha. The mall’s retail units also qualify buyers for the residence.
According to consultancy firm Valustratus Price Index for residential properties, improvements since 2016 could help alleviate unit overspeeding.
Previously, investors required sponsorship for Qatari businesses or personal residences, but now a $ 200,000 property purchase guarantees temporary residence for the life of the property. A $ 1 million purchase earns the benefits of permanent residence, including free school and health care.
Marketing Director Tina Chaddha said that I have lived in Qatar for 15 years.
She is now looking for “a living good in which I can use to obtain permanent residence”.
“I think this will allow me to call Qatar home. I feel more comfortable now, ”he told AFP.
Chadda said the visa would also allow her to bring her family, including elderly relatives, from Nairobi to Qatar.
“It is a safer country than Kenya.”
Foreigners can now hunt in 25 regions of Qatar – mainly in the capital and around Doha – nine of which are freehold and the rest with a 99-year lease.
Interview for the most part
Gulf countries have long relied on foreign skills and expertise to turn their petrodollars into sprawling cities in their region, but it’s rarely easy or cheap to make their moves permanent for expats.
Similar programs exist elsewhere in the Gulf, but at much higher expense. Dubai offers a 10-year residence visa for an investment of $ 2.7 million, of which 40% must be in property.
The so-called “Golden Visa” and investment passport programs in many countries have also come under scrutiny over allegations that have attracted corrupt individuals and money laundering.
In the case of Qatar, it is unclear to what extent small ultra-conservative countries – where strict restrictions apply to free speech and the sale of alcohol – will be attractive to wealthy global buyers.
A $ 200,000 investment in the new Fox Hills development in Lusail, north of Doha, purchases a 50m² (540sq.ft) studio, while $ 1m will cover a 330sqm three-bed apartment with sea view to Pearl.
“These areas are designated because they have new and developed infrastructure… as well as a specific approach to the sea,” Justice Ministry official Saeed Abdullah al-Suvedi said.
“There is not a big demand, but we are trying to encourage real estate investment,” he said. “(We) aim to diversify the economy and are not dependent on oil and gas.”
This marks a sea change in the Gulf Emirates, where 90% of the 2.75 million people are temporary guest workers, mostly employed on projects related to the 2022 tournament.
‘Promotions towards 2022’
“The idea is for expats and locals to work together and try to promote long-term prospects for Qatar,” said a real estate agent promoting the project to clients.
“As the advertising increases around 2022, I think it will naturally create more demand,” said Oliver Essex, a Doha-based Sotheby’s real estate agent.
In a report released last month, the KPMG auditor said residential property had not been as badly affected as other real estate in Qatar by the novel coronovirus outbreak, citing a residential transaction of $ 1.48 billion in the second quarter of 2020 was gone.
“However, the Kovid-19 measures have resulted in government and private layoffs, indirectly leading to the exodus of a substantial workforce,” he said.
The political reshuffle comes at a time of political crisis, with Qatar under its economic and diplomatic boycott of its neighbors – dismal demand for Qatari properties – and low oil prices, which have also led to lower prices in d other Gulf capitals.
Essex said it expected most of the initial interest to come from foreign investors living in Qatar rather than investors already based abroad.
“I believe that mainly Lebanese, Iranians, Egyptians and Indians” would be initially interested, he said.
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