Sharjah has now allowed foreign ex-pats to own property with leases of up to 100 years. The emirate’s government plans on cashing in on the recent boom in the UAE’s economy. This will be the first time that the emirate opens its property market to foreign investment, giving expatriates the right to buy properties.
The primary purpose behind this is to take advantage of the spillover property demand in Dubai. However, the government requires expatriates to have a valid UAE residence visa to purchase property in the emirate. If the UAE residence visa expires after expats purchase the property, then they can sell or hold their property.
The Government officials also said that the expats will be able to own property on long leases, but they won’t have the ownership of land. Furthermore, the investments will be limited to the properties on the city center’s edge.
Plans to Give the First Plots
In the initial stage, only the plots will be available for sub-developers to construct residential properties, such as villas and apartments. The first new development to offer long leases will be in Tilal City.
The project has around 1,800 plots of land and was launched on 15th May 2023. According to government officials, the new rules would allow the creation of cluster cities outside of central Sharjah. This way, it can reduce the overall traffic congestion.
Sharjah’s deputy ruler Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi approved executive council resolution 26. This will help decrease the disputes that were previously caused by foreigners trying to work their way around previous rules.
The only thing that the people willing to invest in Sharjah’s real estate market is that they need to have a valid residence visa when purchasing the property. If their visa has expired for any reason, they can either hold, lease or sell the property according to their preference and future plans.
Preventing the Selling of Off-Plan Properties
Government officials say that they want to prevent the developers from selling off-plan apartments to players who would then flip them for a higher price. Developers only have a limit regarding the off-plan apartments that they can sell for project completion.
Speculative flipping has been a problem in the past throughout the UAE market. Developers advertised the project and often didn’t complete the project. Some even took the money and then ran away from the country. Experts describe this as a historic move and a major development for the property sector.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been the center of attention for international investors. However, this move will open up a new market for them in the UAE.
The new regulations are the most recent effort to attract foreign investors to Sharjah’s more affordable real estate market. The government plans on maximizing the demand from those who can no longer afford a property in Dubai due to the high prices.
Massive Changes in the Sharjah’s Real Estate Laws
Sharjah’s real estate laws had previously only permitted UAE citizens to own property. It barred anyone outside of the country to own property. However, these laws were initially loosened following the 2008 financial crisis to permit Arabs outside the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to invest in the real estate market.
But with the recent changes in the law, foreign expats and dignitaries can now own properties in the emirate. Sharjah has historically taken a much more conservative stance toward innovation in the property sector than Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Therefore, experts anticipate that the government won’t be making any significant changes to all areas of policy in the near future. They’ll test the waters first with the initial development project and then decide on the extent of reforms they need to make in the property laws.
While there is a lot of demand for real estate in Sharjah, it mainly comes from the GCC or Asian investors. So, they’ll more likely be the first to take advantage of these changes.
Though it is in the initial stages, the property market in Sharjah has great potential that we’ll likely see in the future. Therefore, investors should start considering coming up with a strategy that will allow them to enjoy long-term growth and sustainability.