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Oman mulls opening housing market to expats

Oman mulls opening housing market to expats

Expats can currently only buy property in the sultanate’s integrated tourist complexes

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Oman is reportedly considering opening up more areas of its housing market to expatriates.

Times of Oman cited a Ministry of Housing official as saying Oman Real Estate Association is pushing for reforms to make more areas of the country available for sale to people of all nationalities.

Under current laws, foreigners can only buy property in integrated tourist complexes, many of which are beyond the means of lower paid expats living and working in the sultanate.

The publication quoted ministry Planning and Studies Department manager Siham Al Harthi as saying it was “currently studying” the idea of opening up to the country’s foreign workforce but there was no timeframe in place.

“It needs approval from many authorities to see the light of day,” he said,

The proposal by OREA recommends allocating special zones allowing expatriates to buy properties at more reasonable prices than the tourist complexes.

“This has to be done on real demand, and not as a speculative market, where buyers purchase a house with the hope that it will become more valuable at a future date,” vice chairman of the association Hassan Juma told Times of Oman.

He argued that home ownership would mean expatriates contribute more to the local economy, by spending on local services rather than remitting money back home, and give the real estate sector a boost.

The official added that the middle-market tourism complexes should be allocated after comprehensive studies to not result in a dramatic hike in real estate prices.

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