The UAE's capital previously limited ownership largely to Emiratis and citizens of the neighbouring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
Residential units in investment areas will now be registered under Abu Dhabi's freehold law, according to Abu Dhabi real estate firm Aldar Properties, citing a government statement. Previously, foreign investors in Abu Dhabi were largely restricted to 99-year leases, it said.
"This will not only further drive the maturity of Abu Dhabi's real estate market, but will also increase transparency and provide clarity of title for property owners, increasing long term investment, injecting more liquidity into the market and encouraging longer term residency," Aldar chief executive Talal Al Dhiyebi said in a statement.
Aldar announced on Wednesday a recently launched residential project on Abu Dhabi's Yas Island, where land and property can be sold to all nationalities, had sold out and generated over 400 million dirhams ($109 million) in sales.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, directed Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, to review the emirate's real estate sector development in line with international trends and standards.
The Abu Dhabi Executive Committee raised a proposal to update the Real Property Law, following a study on the emirate's real estate sector, and the holding of a series of meetings with stakeholders, investors and real estate developers, to identify means to develop the sector, and consolidate the status of Abu Dhabi as an investment destination.
"Updating the Real Property Law reflects the leadership's support and vision to develop the emirate's economy," Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed said.
He noted that the amendments will have a positive effect on the real estate sector, and will encourage investors to acquire land in designated investment zones within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, with ample room for development opportunities.
In his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has issued a law amending provisions of Law No. 19 of 2005 concerning real estate sector in Abu Dhabi. The new law stipulates amendments to Articles 3 and 4 of the 'Real Property Law'.
Article 3 (i) stipulates the rights to own property are limited to three categories the first being Emirati citizens, natural or legal persons, the second includes public holding companies with ownership not exceeding 49 per cent non-nationals, or the third as any person to whom a decision is issued by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince or the President of the Executive Council.
While Article 3 (ii) stipulates that non-UAE nationals, natural or legal persons, shall have the right to own and acquire all original and in-kind rights in real estate properties located within investment areas.
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