Expats now allowed to retain properties in Oman

Expats who buy apartments under Oman’s usufruct scheme will be able to own their properties even if they should leave the country, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning (MOHUP) has announced.

Usufruct is a legal right accorded to a person or party that confers the temporary right to use and derive income or benefit from someone else’s property.  The new scheme comes as the government moves to diversify the economy and create better opportunities for foreign investors.

“Non-Omani owners who buy real estate in multi-storey residential and commercial buildings can keep the property even when they return to their home countries on expiry of their work contracts at a company or an organisation in Oman,” a ministry official has confirmed.

“If they wish, they can also rent the properties through a mediation office, a law firm, a realtor, or the like, to manage, rent, or oversee their assets, irrespective of whether they are within or outside Oman,” he added.

“In the future, the ministry is also seeking to find more benefits for non-Omanis who buy property in these multi-storey buildings,” said the MOHUP.

Funding opportunities

In addition, foreign nationals can fund their Omani property investment with the help of domestic banks, a senior official at a real estate firm in the country has said.

Fahad Al Ismaily, the CEO of Tibiaan Properties, said expats can pay for apartments listed under the usufruct scheme by taking out a bank loan, which can subsequently be paid back over time.

“The Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning has expanded and amplified the rule to make it understandable,” he said, speaking to The Oman Times.

“They have issued a document which provides an explanation about the work being done, which is good, because there was a lot of confusion among people in this matter, as well as incorrect information sometimes given by real estate agents.”

Purchase rules

Only apartments in buildings that are built – not off plan – and are less than four years old can be purchased by expats. The building must also be a minimum of storeys.

In addition, 40% of flats in any building can be put up under the usufruct scheme, with a maximum of 20% of people from the same nationality permitted to buy property in any one building.

Living in Oman

Located on the south of the Arabian Peninsula, the Sultanate of Oman is a popular expat destination with about 40% of the population made up of non-Omanis. People from all over the world are attracted by high salaries, low tax rates, a great climate, world-class infrastructure, low crime and a high standard of living.

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