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Gulf Times International

Minister: Real estate market ‘buyer-friendly’

Competitive property prices in 2019 have prompted buyer demand for higher quality, making Qatar’s real estate sector a “buyer-friendly market,” HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari said yesterday.
Speaking at the opening of the eighth edition of Cityscape Qatar, al-Kuwari said, “Transaction volume has jumped by 20% annually in the first quarter of 2019. Residential supply reached 293,000 units as of Q1 2019 with the delivery of 3,000 apartments and villas in multiple areas. There are also 10,000 new units projected for completion in 2019, 67% of which are in Lusail and The Pearl-Qatar.”
Al-Kuwari said Qatar’s real estate also has “a sizeable presence” during the exhibition, which is showcasing some of the biggest future projects, such as Qetaifan Island North and new Hamad International Airport expansion, among others until October 24 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC).
“Cityscape Qatar 2019 will be remembered as a breakthrough event – coinciding with the recently released real estate foreign ownership law. This law allows non-Qatari individuals and corporates to own residential and commercial real estate in various areas around Qatar. The freehold and leasehold laws aim at creating a positive transformation in the real estate sector and supporting economic growth in Qatar.
“The recent reform to the real estate foreign ownership law grants several benefits to foreign real estate investors who acquire assets worth $200,000 or more, including permanent residency for the owners and their families for the entire ownership duration,” al-Kuwari said.
The minister said the law also provides additional privileges to non-Qataris who buy real estate assets valued more than $1mn, including free education and healthcare, as well as the possibility to invest in specific sectors in Qatar. These benefits also extend to the owner’s family for the ownership duration, he continued.
Al-Kuwari said that in accordance with the modifications approved by the Cabinet, 16 areas have been designated to allow 99-year leasehold ownership by non-Qataris, and 10 additional areas for freehold ownership, including residential and commercial properties.
He also said the Ministry of Justice has initiated a new advanced information system in its Real Estate Registration Department to speed up transactions through a single window, allowing buyers to complete the process from one place.
“The new law has been positively received by all stakeholders in the sector, including real estate developers and market strategists, and we are pleased that it is being considered as a core element in attracting both regional and international
investors to the Qatari market.
“We are also pleased with the offers proposed by developers and banks to encourage real estate ownership through easy payment plans and new financing options for residential ownership. We look forward to having more initiatives from the financiers and developers as we move forward,” al-Kuwari stressed.
On the regulation of real estate brokerage, al-Kuwari said new standards have been put in place to provide a suitable environment that will enhance the qualification of brokers by offering them special services, controlling speculations, and establishing a proper platform for the sector.
“Real estate brokerage companies have been classified in order to build trust between them and investors, and continuous investor education on their rights and responsibilities has been secured. Finally, electronic services have been made available to facilitate the completion of formalities and compel brokers to legalise their contracts,” al-Kuwari added.

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