With a new legislation that came into effect this spring, Sharjah for the first time allows non-Arab nationals without a UAE residency visa to purchase property in the emirate on a 100-year renewable land lease. The move aims at stimulating demand and increasing foreign investment in Sharjah’s real estate market and is seen to be a game changer for the sector.
The new policy is expected to spur residential development, as well as lifestyle and retail projects. Furthermore, Sharjah residents who are not keen on buying property because their residency visa is bound to employment, are expected to make up the first wave of buyers. Others will likely be investors looking to purchase into affordable master-planned communities, as well as those looking to rent out homes to the growing number of students and office workers in the emirate.
“All this will stimulate demand, together with continued efforts by Sharjah to develop the private sector, strengthen the economy by diversification and shape a favourable environment for job creation, business growth and investment,” said John Stevens, managing director of property consultancy Asteco.
It is also expected that the drive for more residential developments in Sharjah will kick off a new rivalry with Dubai, where developers are now also focusing on providing more affordable housing.
“It is true that Sharjah established itself as a major destination for real estate investment in the region,” said Marwan Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, or Shurooq, adding that “we achieved this by stimulating the market in Sharjah in two ways: understanding the real estate market and providing investors with the highest possible return on their investments.”
Currently, there are a number of major freehold and long-term leasehold developments under way in Sharjah by developers such as Arada with its $6.5-billion (Dh24 billion) Aljada development, Alef Group with its car-free Al Mamsha community, Majid Al Futtaim Group/Sharjah Asset Management with its Uptown Al Zahia development and an Eagle Hills-Shurooq joint venture that has three projects already announced, Maryam Island, Palace Al Khan and Kalba Waterfront.