Expats allowed to buy land and extend properties in Oman
Now, expatriates and GCC nationals can not only buy land in the Sultanate, but also extend the size of their residential or commercial properties, as per a landmark decision. The decision comes just a month after expatriates and GCC residents were barred from buying land in Bahrain in a move to safeguard its property market. According to a senior official of the Sultanate's Ministry of Housing, the amendment came following the ministerial decision no. 43/2012 issued recently.
"Article (1) of the decision says that the expansion and increase in the land area is possible for GCC residents, non-Omanis and citizens. This extension will only be allowed if there is a need to go for an extension and the price of the land shall be set according to the rates laid down by the Ministry of Housing," the official told Times of Oman yesterday. The official also said that the fees for extension of residential or commercial property shall be collected as per the ministerial decision no. 21/2000. "This new law has already been published in the official gazette recently," the official added.
Explaining the system, the official said expatriates are allowed to own land or constructed units for residential or investment purposes in integrated tourism complexes licensed by competent government agencies, which is subject to the approval of the Ministry of Tourism. Here, the expatriates are also allowed to sell built units at any time. "However, any one who bought a piece of land in an integrated tourism complex should develop it or maintain it well for four years from the date of registration of the property.
The land cannot be disposed of within the first four years, except by mortgage to finance its development," the official said. If the land is not developed or utilised within the first four years, the Ministry of Housing, Electricity and Water may dispose of it by public auction and reimburse the owner with the auction amount. Here, the expatriates owning the property for accommodation or investment and their relatives may be granted residence permit. "The Executive Regulations shall, after coordination with the parties concerned, establish the procedures and stipulations for granting such residence permits," the official added.