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Foreign capital boosts Sharjah property market

Sharjah real estate is attracting investment from expatriate Arabs living in the UAE, after the government relaxed regulations to allow non-GCC nationals to buy property. Historically, only Emirati or other citizens from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have been allowed to own property, but a recent policy change now permits other Arab nationalities living in the UAE to purchase up to five apartment units in Sharjah, subject to clearance from the Sharjah Real Estate Department.

Sharjah’s property market is seeing strong growth supported by a solid local economy, rising rental prices in neighbouring Dubai and an influx of residents from other parts of the Middle East. A recent report by global property consultants Cluttons found that Sharjah rents increased 17 per cent in the first half of 2014, following an overall increase of 16 per cent in 2013.

Cluttons attributes the current political instability in the Arab world with causing an influx of Arab nationals from around the region settling in Sharjah, due to affordable rents and the Emirate’s rich Islamic heritage. The report also found that ‘refugee capital’, being moved as a result of unrest in other Middle Eastern countries has found its way into Sharjah’s off-plan residential property market. Al Thurriah, one of Sharjah’s leading property developers, stated that about 25% of it’s off plan freehold apartment property had been sold to non-GCC Arab expatriates living in the UAE.

The local rental market has always benefited demand from neighbouring Dubai and rising rents during the past two years have created new interest in Sharjah accommodation. The rising demand for villas and villa communities is being fueled by both Sharjah’s growing population and the demand for affordable accommodation from expatriates employed in Dubai. Cluttons has notes a trend of Dubai-based companies renting bulk staff housing in Sharjah due to high prices in Dubai.

Demand across Sharjah’s property sector is expected to continue, despite the growing supply of new residential and commercial properties in construction.

Source: Cluttons, Al Thuria, media

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