ABOUT GULF Buyers' Guide Below
For many owning a property in gulf is nothing less than a lifelong dream coming true. To ensure your dream just doesn’t remain a dream but turns into a reality we have compiled for you a little brief on all about real estate investment in the gulf countries. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar are included under the list of Gulf countries and they offer a great deal of real estate opportunities.
Saudi Arabia
Bordered by as any as 6 countries, including Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, the Gulf of Oman, Qatar, UAE, Oman and Yemen, Saudi Arabia is on its way of becoming a hotbed for real estate investment. Foreigners are allowed to own real estate, though it has to be subject to approval by the licensing authority. However, foreigners are not allowed to ownership in Mecca and Medina except through inheritance. Non- Saudi Muslims can get leases of up to two years in Mecca and Medina.

The State of Qatar is an Arab emirate in Southwest Asia and is bordered by Saudi Arabia and surrounded by Persian Gulf. Qatar is literally following the footsteps of Dubai, as it allows ownership of properties to foreigners in select areas such as Pearl Island, West Bay Lagoon, Al Khor Resort etc. The Pearl of the Gulf offers a 99-year lease along with the residency rights for non-GCC citizens.

Situated in Southwest Asia along the Arabian Peninsula, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven states. In a short span of time, UAE has risen in prominence to emerge as a global and a modern hub. From Abu Dhabi to Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, are all geared for extensive real estate investment as the investors get to enjoy easy payment terms and nil taxes.

Bahrain is the smallest Arab state and is an island country in the Persian Gulf. The real estate sector in Bahrain is growing at a rapid pace as a number of projects are coming up. In the past two years the buying prices have increased by 20% to 25%. Foreigners can also buy and rent out property freely in the various cities of Manama, such as Ahmed Al-Fateh, Hoora, Bu Ghazal, Seef and Northern Manama.

Situated on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsular, the Sultanate of Oman is emerging as a centre for business and tourism, which led to the increase in demand of both residential and commercial properties. The royal decree allows freehold ownership of properties for all nationalities in tourism designation areas.

Buyers's Guide

The following FAQs section is designed to give you a brief idea on the Gulf Real Estate sector and what may be required of an expatriate or a foreigner planning to invest in Gulf.
Q1. Can foreigners invest in real estate in Bahrain?The legislation allows foreigners to buy real estate in Bahrain and this law was fully authorized in 2003. Land is also available on lease from the government.
Q2. Is there any kind of restrictions on investment in Bahrain?There are a few restrictions in regard to foreign ownership in Bahrain. The government has designated specific zones for foreign ownership. Some of the residential and commercial zones are: Ahmed Al-Fateh District, Hoora District, Bu Ghazal District, Seef District, District of Northern Manama including Diplomatic Area. For residential properties also, the government has demarcated few areas such as Durrat Al-Bahrain, Amwaj Islands and Dannat Hawar. Besides this non-GCC expatriates area allowed a permanent resident permit if they own real estate property, however this permit expires if the property is sold.
Q3. Can foreigners purchase property in Qatar?Since 2004 foreigners are being allowed to purchase property in specific areas of Qatar. The main areas where foreigners can buy property include the Pearl, West Bay Lagoon and Al Khor.
Q4. Who is eligible to buy a property in Sultanate of Oman?Foreigners are eligible for freehold ownership of properties but they can only purchase in Tourism Designated Areas. Expatriate property owners also automatically get residency rights for themselves and immediate families when they purchase a property.

Q5. Why is Qatar a good option for investing in real estate?The first and foremost reason why Qatar is a good option for investing in real estate is because it is a tax-free country. If you are planning to purchase for renting out or just investment purposes, you can surely expect a profitable return on your investment. If you are planning to stay there, you can enjoy a lifestyle that matches the global standards and it is virtually crime free.
Q6. Who is eligible to buy a property in UAE and is it important to hold a residence visa for buying a property?Anyone can buy a property in UAE and it is not at all required to hold a residence visa for purchase purposes. However, there does exist specifically designated real estate zones for non-UAE nationals and once you have purchased a freehold property, you do become eligible for applying for a residence visa. Though it is important to keep in mind, buying of a property does not guarantee a residence visa.

Q7. Who can buy property in Saudi Arabia and are there any restrictions?Foreigners are eligible to own a property in Saudi Arabia, however it has to be done with the approval of the licensing authority. Though foreign ownership is not allowed in Mecca and Medina, except through inheritance. Non-Saudi Muslims can get leases up to 2 years in these cities. Leases can also be renewed for the same period.
Q8. What does freehold ownership mean?Buying property on a freehold basis means that the property owner has full rights over the property and can even sell, lease or rent the property at their discretion. Freehold property in Dubai is limited to specifically designated areas and Jumeirah, Jebel Ali, Sheikh Zayed Road are just some of the examples of these areas.
Q9. What are the finance options available to a person interested in buying a property in UAE?To buy a property in UAE you can avail the various mortgage facilities provided by the banks.
Q10. Does a non-UAE citizen need to pay tax on purchase of a property?As per the present law an expatriate or a foreigner does not need to pay any tax on income on purchase or sale of a property in UAE.
Q11. What if an expatriate or a foreigner does not intend to live full-time after purchasing the property? An owner will not face any kind of an issue if he/she plans to not stay full-time in any one of the Gulf Countries. With most of these countries benchmarking specific areas for investment purposes for foreigners, most of these countries ensure extensive infrastructural support is extended to such real estate projects. In fact there are organizations offering comprehensive service because of which you need not worry about the maintenance and security of your property at all.
Q12. Is one required to open a local bank account for the purchase of a property in UAE?One is not required to set up a local bank account
for the purchase of a property in UAE.
Q13. Can a person purchase a property for selling or renting purpose in any one of the Gulf Countries? It is absolutely possible for an expatriate or a foreigner to buy a property for investment purpose and then selling it at a later date or for leasing it out on rent. In Saudi Arabia, five years need to elapse before a property is sold and foreigners are forbidden ownership in Mecca and Medina.

GULF NEWS CAPSULE (VOL XVII) - (January 15- 31, 2009)
UAE property sector worsens, says Morgan Stanley
Aldar proposes 25% dividend increase
UAE property sector slowing down says Global
Dubai's Deyaar shelves at least 25% of projects
Firm sells non-existing apartments
UAE to evaluate Amlak, Tamweel merger
Kuwait's Cabinet approves stimulus package bases
UAE property sector worsens, says Morgan StanleyAbout $263 billion worth of real estate projects have been delayed or cancelled in the UAE, Morgan Stanley said. The bank said the UAE's property sector has been dealt a 'worse than expected blow' by the global financial crisis. It also noted that Emaar is likely to be 'worst affected' among Dubai developers by falling real estate prices.
Aldar proposes 25% dividend increase
The board of Abu Dhabi-based real estate developer Aldar Properties proposed a 25% increase in the dividend payout to shareholders for the financial year ended December 31. In a filing to Abu Dhabi Securities Market, Aldar's Chief Financial Officer Shafqat Ali Malik said the company's board decided to propose a dividend per share of 12.5 fils for the financial year 2008. This, however, has to be approved at the Annual General Meeting on March 1, 2009.
UAE property sector slowing down says Global The global financial crisis is casting a shadow over the UAE property sector, a Global Investment House report said. For the first time in years, the UAE property market is slowing down as credit tightens, projects are scaled down, jobs are cut, and prices fall following the global credit crunch in September last year.
Dubai's Deyaar shelves at least 25% of projects
Dubai developer Deyaar would put at least a quarter of projects on hold and offer customers more flexible payment options as the financial crisis hits Gulf trade hub's property sector. "The company will hold back the entire 25 per cent of the portfolio that is unannounced and not released for sale," Deyaar said in a statement.
Firm sells non-existing apartments
A well-known real estate development company from the United Arab Emirates recently sold non-existing apartments in a planned 40-story residential tower to be built on the Jeddah Corniche. It later transpired that the company did not even have the approval of the Jeddah Municipality, which had asked the company to amend its design before giving a final OK. Neither the name of the company - which has also announced a similar real estate project on King Fahd Road in Riyadh - nor the sums of money it took from its customers have been disclosed. However, a number of Saudis have filed complaints against the company.
UAE to evaluate Amlak, Tamweel merger
A committee headed by Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri will present its recommendations to the government by the end of February. 'The ripple effects of the global financial meltdown have necessitated a renewed approach to the business models of Amlak and Tamweel,' Al Mansouri said.
Kuwait's Cabinet approves stimulus package bases
Kuwait's Cabinet says it has approved the "principles" of an economic stimulus package, but the final version still needs some revisions. It was proposed by a government task force as the oil rich country grapples with fallout from the global financial crisis.
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New business?
However small
it may be,
success requires
proper planning,
preparation and

RIGHTS In business, there are no
guarantees. There’s simply
no way to eliminate risks
associated with starting an
enterprise. But you can improve
chances of success with good
planning, preparation and insight.
Find out what to consider when
starting a business.
Drawing up a business plan
It’s important to draft a
comprehensive and thoughtful
business plan. Much hinges on
it: Outside funding, credit from
suppliers, management of your
operation and finances, promotion
and marketing of your business,
and achievement of your goals
and objectives.
Creating a business plan will
force you to think about key issues
before you start your enterprise,
such as raising money and your
projected start-up costs and
marketing strategies. This will help
you figure out if your idea is
a winner.

The core of naming a business lies
in understanding the trademark
law. Trademarks help consumers
identify the makers of the goods
or services. Often, the name of
your company may also be used
as a trademark to identify your
company’s offerings. What’s in a
name, you may wonder. But if you
choose something too similar to a
competitor’s name, you might be
accused of violating the their legal
rights, and you could be forced to
change it and even pay monetary
damages. A good business name
should be:
■ Distinctive
■ Memorable
■ Easily spelled and
■ Suggest the products or
services you offer
■ Distinguish you from your
Many people opt for partnerships
with their friends or relatives for
doing business, because they
feel very comfortable dealing with
people they have known for a long
time. But before you do, create
a Partnership Agreement which
should include the following:
■ Amount of equity invested by
each partner
■ Type of business
■ How profit and loss will be
■ Each partner’s pay and
■ Distribution of assets on
■ Provisions for changes or
dissolving the partnership
■ Dispute settlement clause
■ Settlement in case of death or
■ Restrictions of authority
and expenditures
Financing A new business
Money can be raised either by
borrowing it from a friend, family
member, bank or selling ownership
interests (equity) in your business.
There’s no hard and fast rule on
the best way to raise money; you’ll
have to evaluate your situation
and decide what kind of loan or
investment you’re willing to take.
If you are going beyond family
and friends for loans or equity
investments, you’ll definitely need
a business plan.
If you take a loan, you will
have to repay the money over
time (usually monthly), with
interest. The lender won’t receive
an ownership interest in your
business, and you won’t have to
share any of your future profits
with the lender. On the other hand,
if you raise money by selling equity
(ownership interests), you will
not have to make these monthly
payments or repay the investment
at any particular date. L e g a l
All about you
The business of
doing business
your business is profitable, you’ll
need to share the profits with your
investors, generally in proportion
to the percentage of the business
they own.
Licences and permits
Business licences and permits
can range from the general (a
basic trade licence to operate
a business within a city), to the
specific (a permit to sell alcohol/
firearms/food items). Bear in mind
that regulations vary by industry.
Investigate into the licensing
and permit requirements that
affect your industry, and avoid
any temptation to ignore these
important regulatory details.
Being out of licensing and permit
compliance could leave you
unprotected legally, which may
lead to expensive penalties, and
can jeopardise your business.
Location of workplace
There is no universal rule for
choosing a business location.
The biggest consideration is
sometimes not where it is but
what it is. The building facilities
need to be appropriate for your
business whether you are working
from home, a business centre or
a rented space. Or you could take
up space in a market with similar
businesses or consumer groups.
Entering into agreements
Be mindful of employment
contracts as these take different
forms. All employees at a
company may be asked to sign
the same form of contract, or
each employee may have a
contract with the employer that
is exclusively applicable to his
or her employment agreement.
It mentions the kind of work the
employee will do, for how long,
and at what rate of pay. Please
consult an attorney who can
advise you about Confidentiality
and Non-Competition Agreements,
and clauses pertaining to
ownership of inventions, exclusive
employment, termination,
minimum wages, bonus,
arbitration and jurisdiction.
In almost all business dealings,
every time you or your company
agrees to take some action or
make a payment in exchange
for anything of value, a legal
contract is created. Make sure
that you and the other party
agree on the meaning of any
potentially ambiguous words or
phrases. Even a misplaced (or
unnoticed) punctuation mark can
dramatically change the scope of
your rights and obligations under a
contract. Watch out for commonly
misused words. When you agree to
bimonthly payments, for instance,
do you understand that you will be
paid every other month? Or do you
expect to be paid twice a month?
Some business agreements may
be simple enough for the regular
person to draft, while others may
require the help of a lawyer.
If your advertisement is deceptive,
you’ll face legal problems even
if you had the best intentions
while framing it. In addition, if
your advertisement contains a
false statement, you have already
violated the law. The fact that you
didn’t know ‘the information was
false’ is irrelevant. Advertisements
should conform to laws and
should not go against morality,
decency and the religious
susceptibilities of people.
Business Advisors
Finally, the key to success for any
entrepreneur is to have the best
set of advisors, not necessarily
the most expensive but the
ones you can trust totally. These
may includes lawyers, chartered
accountants, insurance advisors,
and bankers among others.

Decide on the meaing of potentially
ambiguous phrases. Even a misplaced
punctuat ion mark can change the
scope of your rights and obligations..