A new law enabling expats in Oman to own real estate is expected to bring substantial economic benefits to the sultanate, experts say.
Under a royal decree issued earlier this year, non-Omanis are permitted to own land and real estate units in designated areas known as Integrated Tourism Complexes (ITCs).
The sultanate announced plans last week to invest $10.39 billion into developing more than 5,000 housing units for expats to purchase within these designated areas.
The five areas are Diyar Ras Al Hadd Resort, Omagine Project, Quriyat Integrated Project, Naseem A’Sabah Project and Al Nakheel Project.
Mubarak bin Hamad Al Alawi, advisor of legal affairs at Oman’s Ministry of Tourism said in a statement last week: “Oman has taken a positive step by opening up the real estate market to Omanis, GCC citizens, and other nationalities.
“The government has received a number of applications.”
The government is reportedly also working to create additional projects as part of its strategy to diversify the economy away from oil and gas.
Industry experts said foreign ownership of real estate was necessary to boost the market in Oman.
Mohammed bin Salim al Busaidy, chairman of the Oman Real Estate Association and a shura council member, was quoted in the Oman Observer as saying: “There are expatriates who have been staying in Oman for many years.
“They want to feel secure here and they should be encouraged to invest their savings here.”
Meanwhile, BMI Research noted that the new law marks the first time foreign nationals will be able to purchase property of any kind in Oman.
It said in a paper: “[The new law] will add further impetus to the government’s efforts to promote economic divers ification and s timulate additional demand for residential and tourism-related infrastructure.”
In particular, the planned new units in the tourism complexes are likely to target “the type of affluent, international buyers who have fuelled Oman’s emergence as a viable tourism destination over the last several years,” the paper added.