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Wed 17 Apr 2019 05:18 PM

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Change to Abu Dhabi's real estate rules hailed as 'game changer'

The Government of Abu Dhabi says all foreigners will now be entitled to own the freehold of land and properties which they purchase in investment zones

Change to Abu Dhabi's real estate rules hailed as 'game changer'
The move was hailed by Aldar Properties with Talal Al Dhiyebi, CEO, describing it as a game changer.

The Government of Abu Dhabi announced on Wednesday that all foreigners will be entitled to own the freehold of land and properties which they purchase in investment zones.

Previously, this was only permitted for UAE and GCC nationals and the move has been described as a "game changer".

As part of the changes, residential units in the zones will be registered under Abu Dhabi's freehold law, with property ownership deeds issued to investors, according to a statement issued by the Government of Abu Dhabi.

Previously, foreign investors in Abu Dhabi property were generally limited to leasehold arrangements with 99-year leases.

The move was hailed by Aldar Properties with Talal Al Dhiyebi, CEO, saying: "This is a game changing announcement for Abu Dhabi, and we applaud yet another insightful policy decision by the government that allows expatriates to be able to buy freehold properties in investment zones.

“This will not only further drive the maturity of Abu Dhabi’s real estate market, but will also increase transparency and provide clarity of title for property owners, increasing long term investment, injecting more liquidity into the market and encouraging longer term residency.”

Earlier this year, Aldar launched its Alreeman project in Al Shamka, an investment zone located adjacent to Abu Dhabi Airport. 

Al Dhiyebi added: “The latest changes not only boost the real estate market but also have far-reaching impacts on the broader economy, and further increase Abu Dhabi’s diversification to non-hydrocarbon industries.

"We are already reaping the rewards of the recent initiatives and seeing a positive shift in sentiment, evident by strong sales of over AED2 billion achieved for our two latest plot developments, Alreeman and Lea, which demonstrates strength and resilience in the market.”

Last year, the federal government made sweeping changes to visa laws, which included granting long-term residency to UAE property owners, as well as retirement visas and 100 percent ownership of businesses for foreign investors.

Abu Dhabi Government has also launched the Accelerators Program Ghadan 21 which aims to boost competitiveness of Abu Dhabi businesses and paves the way for a more positive investment environment in the longer term.