Property in Oman: An Arabian Treasure

Property in OmanOman might not seem like the first choice for your overseas property investment however Oman is becoming increasingly popular with overseas property investors.

Oman, once the most powerful state in Arabia, is now the ultimate luxury haven, for both tourists and buying foreign propertys alike. Located along the south-east coast of the Arabian peninsula in south-west Asia, the country is rich in culture and renowned for offering a tranquil way of life.

Oman is stunningly beautiful with over 2,000k of perfect beaches and tourist attractions are varied, including ancient cities, desert and mountain landscapes, and wadis. Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said al-Said, knows that the country needs to diversify away from their reliance on the country’s diminishing oil reserves and so he is plunging money into investing in the country. One of the big laws he has brought in concerns property. Ratified in 2006, foreign nationals are now allowed to purchase freehold property and land in designated tourist areas in Oman.

These areas are known as Integrated Tourist Complexes (ITCs) and overseas property investors are snapping them up. In fact, around 70% of all properties in ITCs are now said to be owned by overseas nationals, with most of these being from the India subcontinent, Germany, Scandinavia, and the UK.

When you look at the facts, it’s not hard to see why so many property investors are attracted to Oman. However it isn’t all good news. Oman’s property prices in the ITCs have been affected by the global financial turmoil. Although prices rose between 2006 and 2008, current prices are said be below their 2008 peak – with some reporting a drop of around 25% from their peak price. The drop in property prices in Oman has led some construction projects to be temporarily put on hold. However green shoots are in evidence and it seems that ITC prices are slowly starting to creep up again.

The good news is that Oman has so far steered clear of the high-risk, high-return investments which dogged other property markets such as Dubai. This means that although property investors may have lost a little of the value of their portfolio over the last few years, there should be none of the boom and bust bubbles seen in other countries property markets.

Oman is also keen not to spoil the natural beauty of the country. Instead, properties are high-quality, low-rise luxury developments which complement the surrounding scenery. Infrastructure is also being upgraded – the main airport at Muscat is currently being upgraded and extended, and new airports around the country are currently being planned.

Expatriate homeowners and their immediate families living in special tourist zones now automatically gain residency rights, with two-year renewable visas available.

There are plenty of properties in Oman to suit most budgets – a one-bedroomed apartment in an ITC starts at around $250,000, whilst a luxury villa will be several million. The country also is an excellent tax haven with no income tax or capital gains tax. This means that any rise in property value or rental income will be exempt from tax.

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