By Elsa Baxter
Expert says country's mortgage market could double to $1.9bn in the next few years.
Bahrain’s mortgage market could double to about BD700 million ($1.9 billion) in the next few years, according to a mortgage expert.
R Lakshmanan, CEO of Sakana Holistic Housing Solutions, admitted that the number of mortgage approvals in the first three months of the year had slowed, and could dip further.
He said the market was suffering from investors delaying buying until the global economic outlook improves and banks being still slow to lend, reported the Gulf Daily News.
"Bahrain's current residential mortgage market is highly competitive with more than a dozen players both conventional and Islamic," he told delegates at a two-day GCC mortgage seminar.
"As per the recent Central Bank of Bahrain report, outstanding personal loans secured by property mortgage were approximately BD327m in March.
"The total personal lending which includes mortgage was approximately BD1.65bn.
"Based on estimates, the residential mortgage size currently stands approximately at 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
"However, the penetration level is low compared to a sample of countries in Europe with similar GDP per capita. We believe the market is expected to reach BD700m in the next few years," he said.