By: Jawdat Al Kateb
General Manager
Coreo Real Estate

The silver lining of 2020 has been the upward growth of Qatar’s real estate sector. In a year that saw shifts not only in the market but also our way of life, the property market is one step closer to its goal of sustainability.

Catalysts for Growth
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for the real estate boom is Qatar’s dedication to continue bringing major sporting events to the country, most notably the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In its recently published calendar, the Qatar Olympic Committee has noted that a total of 63 sporting events are set to take place in 2021, including a number of high-profile international competitions like the recent FIFA Club World Cup 2021, the International Basketball Federation Asia Cup, and the Asian Table Tennis Championships, to mention a few. Qatar is also set to host the 2030 Asian Games and has submitted the bid to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.

Another factor to consider is the blockade. Earlier this year, the blockade that lasted over three years was finally lifted, causing ports to re-establish lost trade links and routes. According to QNB Financial Services (QNBFS), the blockade lifting had a positive impact on the local equity market leading to a rise in the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) index.

The lifting of the embargo will once again allow visitors to Qatar from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE. In this regard, the results are expected to be positive generally for the tourism, hotel and real estate sectors.

Easier than Ever
With Qatar demonstrating its capability to host events on such a grand scale, it is also important to highlight that it has provided numerous windows of opportunity for developers as well as any future investors in the property market.

Tenants and investors are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a rental home or a promising investment that suits their demands. Meanwhile, Landlords and developers have bolstered demand through attractive offerings and investment opportunities on their properties.

This year has also seen a rising interest in the purchase of property as Qatar has improved on laws that allow foreign investors to own properties in more areas around the country. The move forward was enabled by the Cabinet Resolution No. 28 of 2020, which opened up several other areas in Qatar for expats for either freehold ownership or leasehold of
a property.

Qatar has also implemented a two-tiered residency program under which buyers of a property worth $1M or more will be eligible for permanent residency with benefits including healthcare and education– advantages typically granted only to citizens and select foreigners who have lived in Qatar for a certain number of years and have been of great service to the country.

Acclaimed Qatari banks are also offering attractive property mortgage plans to ensure solutions are available for a variety of different buyers. These banks offer financial options that suit one’s budget, and provide attractive property financing choices for future homeowners.

The Perfect Choice
Qatar has boosted its international profile over the past decade, both politically and economically, even before its win to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It was hailed as the safest country in 2020 and Doha was named the second safest city in the world for 2021. In 431 cities covered in the report, Doha secured 87.96 in the safety index and 12.04 in the crime index, according to Numbeo’s Crime Index by City 2021. Qatar ranked sixth out of 63 countries, mostly high- income countries, in Economic Performance in The World Competitiveness Yearbook 2020, which is published annually by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD). Areas where Qatar ranked highly in the report; included economic performance (ranked 6), government efficiency (ranked 7) and business efficiency (ranked 11). Moreover, Qatar has maintained its ranking at 40 for infrastructure.

In terms of tourism, Qatar is trending and for good reason. Recently, Doha has been ranked third ‘Trending Destination’ in the world in Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2021. Qatar is also one of the 10 best places for expats to work and live in (first in the Middle East and sixth worldwide), according to HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2020, the longest-running expat survey of its kind. It is the only Arab country that made it to the top 10 list.

Adapting to the Times
To say that Covid-19 has changed everyone’s way of life in Qatar is an understatement that rang true throughout the year 2020. Part of this change impacted several business sectors and the property market was not excluded.

However, if the recent spike in demand for prime locations over the past year is any indication, then there is a lot to look forward to in Qatar’s real estate sector because despite the uncertain times we live in, believe it or not renting or owning property in Qatar has never been easier.

As part of Qatar’s effort to curb the spread of the virus, the initial stages of the lockdown saw an increase in the employees working from home and a decrease in work hours. Mandatory safety protocols and presentation of the ‘Ehteraz’ mobile application in public areas have been put in place which has led to a low number of positive cases and death rates.

The free vaccination campaign has already been implemented and is continuing at a rapid pace. The government has said it expects to have enough vaccines to cover the country’s entire population in 2021, as deals to acquire the vaccines have been signed. Due to the pandemic, business sectors learned more about technology as a means to reach their customers with convenience and safety in mind.

Following this transition, here at Coreo, we have implemented a Covid-19 policy in our workplace as well as a new strategy in our social media platforms which features different services such as virtual tours, online appraisals and overviews to simulate the same level of interactivity at the comfort of our clients’ own homes. Further implementation of these features will not only make it convenient for clients to access properties but also for foreign investors and future expats who are looking to settle down in Qatar. Safety measures are also in place following the standards set by the local health authorities for both our clients and employees.

2022 and Beyond
Despite the limitations caused by the pandemic, ongoing projects by major development companies are set to be completed ahead of schedule.

United Development Company (UDC), one of Qatar’s leading developers and an award-winning organisation, is the brains behind several developments including Floresta Gardens, which is set to hold residential towers, villas within compounds, and a shopping centre. Giardino Village meanwhile includes completed villas, villa and building plots, a school, a hospital, and a mall.

UDC’s pioneering project, Gewan Island has recently made great strides towards its completion. The anticipated Corinthia Gewan Island Qatar Hotel, said to be an architectural jewel that will overlook a golf course and a beach club and complement the Crystal Residence buildings. Qetaifan Projects, owned by Katara Hospitality, is currently developing Qetaifan Island North; a thriving waterfront hub which features a state-of-the-art water park, luxurious hotels and boasts world class residential units, a retail plaza among other facilities. Floresta Gardens, Giardino Village, Gewan Island Qatar, and Qetaifan Islands are just some of the many promising ongoing developments on Qatar’s horizon.

Perhaps one of the brighter spots to take from this pandemic would be the upwards trajectory Qatar’s
real estate market is facing. The property market here not only made the most out of the situation but also exceeded expectations by providing properties for clients as well as providing a stable foundation for future investments and overseas recruitment for years to come.

The real estate industry has continued to show positive signs of growth as the past year has shown. If you are a tenant who wants an upgrade or an investor looking to take advantage of the future, the best time to make the most of this boom is now. Whether you intend to buy, sell, or rent a property, Coreo Real Estate has got you covered.

This article was published as part of the fifth edition of Property Finder Qatar’s Trends Report