REAL ESTATE OWNERSHIP AND ITS USE IN QATAR, A PROMISING PROSPECT FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT

By: Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi
Under-Secretary for Real Estate Registration and Documentation Affairs of the Ministry of Justice,
Head of the Committee for Regulation of Non-Qatari Ownership and Use of the Real Estate.

The Council of Ministers Decision No. (28) of 2020 on specifying the areas in which non-Qataris may own and use real estate and the conditions, controls, benefits and procedures to own and use them, was as a part of Government efforts to complete the strategic projects and objectives of the Qatar National Vision 2030, and it aims at embodying the goal of this vision to transform Qatar into a progressive country which is capable of achieving sustainable development. This solidifies Qatar’s vision for ensuring its continuing economic growth and offering residents and international partners the opportunities to take part in the comprehensive and economic progress and better life in Qatar.

Under this Decision, the real estate in which nonQataris are allowed to invest are offices, retail spaces, units and villas in residential compounds, as well as developing lands in specified areas, which are not limited to apartments and residential units. The various inclusions in this Decision are expected to highly benefit the Qatari economy, as these measures will enhance the attractiveness of investment in the Qatari real estate sector, driven by the strong national economy and its steady growth rates.

Freehold Ownership

This ministerial decision opens promising prospects for both foreign investors and Qatari nationals to enter into strategic investment partnerships, which includes small business investors who now have the opportunity to invest in the real estate market through investment funds, as freehold ownership is now available in nine strategic areas across Qatar which offer a fruitful return on investment. Such areas have been recently developed within the urban strategy of the State, and these cities will be the face of modern Qatar, which confirms the vision of our strategic leadership and its investment flexibility to cover various spectrums of economic progress in Qatar that will in turn, raise Qatar’s level across global economic indicators.

The areas included in the freehold ownership under this Decision are West Bay areas (Legtaifiya), The Pearl area, Al Khor Resort, Al Qassar area (administrative area), Al Dafna (administrative area), Onaizah (administrative area), Lusail, Al Kharaij, and Jabal Thuaileb. These areas all possess high investment returns, and will represent a new investment model not only in Qatar, but also regionally and globally, as these areas combine capital development and encourage coexistence between different developers, owners and investors in the region, given the unique architectural and cultural lifestyle that brings together different world cultures.

Both nationals and residents will be able to benefit from the advantages offered by non-Qatari ownership and use in these areas, mainly due to the new procedures and flexibility of processes, in accordance with the controls established by the law. These are flexible and transparent controls that consider the latest and most successful practices in the field of ownership and use of real estate. Qatar is proud to have the modern legal and legislative systems that allow freedom of ownership in accordance with the latest international standards.

Usufruct

Considering the attractiveness of these areas for accommodation and residence, and in light of the great demand and requests received from people in the State and abroad, and in order to achieve the aspirations of those wishing to benefit from housing units in these areas of strategic depth and historical dimension, the Decision No. (28) of 2020 on specifying areas in which non-Qataris may own and use real estate included 16 areas within the State, from among the areas in which non-Qataris are allowed to use them in accordance with legal controls that grant beneficiaries the right to usufruct for a period of 99 years.

These areas are: Msheireb, Fereej Abdel Aziz, Al Doha Al Jadeeda, Al Ghanim Al Ateeq, Al Rufaa, Old Al Hitmi, Al Salatah, Fereej Bin Mahmoud 22, Fereej Bin Mahmoud 23, Rawdat Al Khail, Al Mansoura, Fereej Bin Dirham, Najma, Umm Ghuwailina, Al Khulaifat, Al Sadd, Al Mirqab Al Jadeed, Fereej Al Nasr, and Airport Area.

New Benefits

This Decision enhances the opportunities for Qatari nationals to benefit from development opportunities and means of wealth through direct and indirect investments. This Decision also provides the opportunity for nonQatari investors and foreign companies to invest in the real estate sector in the State without exception, setting Qatar on the forefront of enhancing its global leadership in indicators of economic openness, ease of doing business, promoting growth and investment attractiveness.

In view of the advanced vision of the State of Qatar in encouraging investment and enhancing partnerships, the Decision introduced new benefits and advantages, which include the benefits of obtaining a permanent residency to the owners of properties in medium range. For example, if the value of the property is USD 200,000, the property owner benefits from the real estate residency, which remains valid for the duration of the property ownership. One of the advantages introduced by the law is that the usufruct right granted to a non-Qatari does not expire upon the death of the beneficiary, but rather it is transferred to his heirs.

In line with the investment facilities that are included in the new legislation in Qatar, all services, purchase procedures, bond issuance, and gaining privileges related to these real estate services are provided through a single window.

The areas in which ownership is allowed are distinct as they are known for being premium and fully-serviced areas, and are also considered touristic and economic areas overlooking the Arabian Gulf, or are located in strategic areas in the centre of Doha, or suburbs overlooking strategic ports and facilities. These areas are also characterized by comprehensive infrastructure and advanced and modern facilities which include bridges, metro stations and communication networks. The advantages introduced by the Decision, among others, are that the owner of a property with a value of not less than USD 1,000,000 will get the benefits of permanent residency, and whoever obtains the real estate residency shall have the benefits of receiving treatment, education in governmental institutions in Qatar and the opportunity to invest in activities in national economic sectors, based on the decision of the Council of Ministers.

To facilitate the procedures for non-Qatari ownership and use of real estate, the Ministry of Justice has launched two offices in The Pearl and Lusail in cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Interior, so that these offices provide all requirements for buying and selling real estate, residential units and offices in the areas covered by the Council of Ministers Decision No. (28) of 2020 on specifying on specifying the areas in which non-Qataris may own and use the real estates and the conditions, controls, benefits and procedures to own and use them. These offices enable the beneficiaries to obtain the title deed in less than an hour. The office also provides, through an automated system developed by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior, the issuance of residency immediately upon completion of the ownership or usufruct procedures. These offices were also launched within a real estate environment that attracts investors and enables them to view the available options in the latest investment areas, in coordination with major real estate development companies, such as Qatari Diar and United Development Company.

In conclusion, I note that, with this Decision Qatar is establishing a new phase of growth, development and modernization thanks to wise leadership and proper planning for the future of its coming generations, a vision that the Government of Qatar seeks to implement in accordance with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State, by building an advanced and prosperous society that is fortified by its values and culture that is open to all, and which carries with it a promising and prosperous future.

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