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Abu Dhabi Allows Overseas Property Investors to Own Land

Abu Dhabi has finally decided to allow overseas property investors to buy land in the United Arab Emirate capital city.

While the United Arab Emirates largest city Dubai has allowed foreign ownership of land under certain circumstances since 2002, the second largest city, Abu Dhabi has always restricted overseas property investors to 99-year leases on land.

Citizens of neighbouring countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council – Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait – were also allowed to buy land in Abu Dhabi, but the UAE’s traditional pool of buyers from India and the United Kingdom could not.

The move is meant to boost the slumping property market in the United Arab Emirates capital amid low oil prices and a strong dollar, according to Bloomberg.

Abu Dhabi is the United Arab Emirate’s second largest city. Its largest city, Dubai, has been in a slump as well – home prices there have dropped by 25 per cent since their peak in 2015., though many experts expect a recovery leading up to the EXPO 2020 property exhibition.

The new rules are still somewhat restrictive with foreign buyers limited to purchasing land in only 30 designated areas of Abu Dhabi, rather than the whole city.

Views on what the impact of the new measure allowing overseas property investor ownership of land will be are mixed.

The CEO of Abu Dhabi’s biggest developer Aldar Properties, Talal Al Dhiyebi, predicts that sales will increase by at least 40 per cent this year over last year as a result of lifting the restriction on foreign land purchases the city. However, JLL’s Craig Plumb on the other hand, believes it will not have a significant, or immediate, impact on demand for property.

British overseas property investors may wish to keep an eye on developments in Abu Dhabi, to see if there are property investment opportunities to be had.

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