Muscat – The decision allowing expatriates to own property will revive the real estate sector and stimulate the economy, according to experts.
The Minister of Housing and Urban Planning (MoHUP) issued a ministerial decision on Wednesday allowing non-Omani investors to own housing units outside integrated tourism complexes in the sultanate.
The decision prompted a strong reaction from citizens and those engaged in the sector. Speaking to Muscat Daily, Mahmoud al Mahrouqi, an investor and a member of Real Estate Development and Construction Committee in Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “The decision came at an appropriate time to attract foreign investment that will stimulate the economy in general and revive the real estate sector in particular.”
According to Mahrouqi, the population of Oman is small, so investors are needed to bring in capital that will revitalise the economic sector and lead to the creation of new developed cities.
“We need to develop infrastructure to create a new environment for the establishment of big real estate projects in specific areas. These real estate projects will bring in more investments. I hope to continue facilitating the procedures to own real estate for non-Omanis to bring in as much capital as possible,” Mahrouqi said.
Dr Ahmed Said al Jahwari, a legal consultant, noted that investment plays a “very important role in any economy, especially in developing countries”.
With last week’s decision, the sultanate has begun defining its goals towards encouraging and attracting foreign investment by supporting the Foreign Capital Investment Law.
Jahwari informed that MoHUP recently issued several decisions to stimulate economic activity and develop the investment and real estate sector in the sultanate, including selling residential units under usufruct contracts, allowing property ownership in integrated tourist complexes, and permitting ownership of land to Gulf citizens outside prohibition places.
“All of these decisions aim to increase the state’s sources of income, diversify the economy, create a competitive business environment to attract foreign investment, and expand real estate development projects,” Jahwari said.
“Many investors prefer to own real estate in the country in which they invest their money, and therefore this decision will preserve their capital within the sultanate. The decision will revitalise the real estate market by injecting cash into the market, as well as by circulating investors’ money internally.”
He added that such decisions will enable Oman highlight its presence on the map of real estate projects that are most attractive to investors in the region. “The sultanate also enjoys a strategic location, economic stability, an environment which provides the highest levels of security and safety, and laws that preserve the rights of all,” Jahwari said.
“The decision will have other positive effects, including increasing demand for land in the areas where foreign ownership is allowed, providing a competitive business environment that attracts investors, and injecting cash into the real estate market to raise its performance rates.”