Expat property bill thwarted in Bahrain
Manama, May 3, 2012
A new bill that could allow expatriates to purchase residential plots in Bahrain has been blocked by parliament, which said the bill would significantly increase real-estate prices in the country.
MPs added that it could stir up major problems as Bahrainis would then be unable to afford housing.
They also said that it could harm efforts to attract foreign investment because there is limited land in the country.
MPs argued that existing legislation that allows GCC nationals to purchase residential and investment properties was sufficient.
"Under current legislation approved by the Gulf Co-operatiion Council (GCC), the government is obliged to treat Gulf nationals as Bahrainis and not expatriates," said parliament financial and economic affairs committee vice-chairman and secretary Mahmood Al Mahmood.
"If we open the door for expatriates to purchase residential plots in Bahrain then a new market will emerge in which GCC nationals purchase bulk plots and then sell them off to the highest expatriate bidder.
"This in return will affect the availability of residential plots for Bahrainis, which are at the moment limited, and also prices would go up and this means that many Bahrainis will be unable to afford to buy residential plots."
Al Mahmood said the bill would also harm Bahrain's attempts to attract foreign investors because not enough lands will be available.
"It will be easier and more profitable for owners of large land to divide it into smaller plots and sell them and this harms moves by the Economic Development Board to attract foreign investment."
Under the rejected bill, expatriates could purchase residential plots that are not more than 2,000 sq m, but could not sell it until four years have lapsed.
It will be sent to the Shura Council for study. – TradeArabia News Service
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