An Arabian Treasure; Oman's Property Market Is Developing in Stylish Fashion, and without a Tower Block in Sight, Reports Mark Da Silva

Daily Mail (London), May 21, 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

An Arabian Treasure; Oman's Property Market Is Developing in Stylish Fashion, and without a Tower Block in Sight, Reports Mark Da Silva


Byline: Mark Da Silva

OMAN, once the most powerful state in Arabia, is now the ultimate luxury haven, for holiday makers and second home buyers alike.

Located along the south-east coast of the Arabian peninsula in southwest Asia, the country is rich in culture and renowned for offering a tranquil way of life.

Oman's vast range of striking visitor attractions, including ancient cities, stony deserts, rocky mountains, wadis, and more than 2,000 kilometres of immaculate beaches, is considered chic the world over. It was even crowned 'destination of the year 2008' by Vogue.

Mohamed Ayjaz, of Hamptons International Oman, says: 'Oman offers an alternative to the normal Arabian identity, whether it's unparalleled scenic beauty, architectural or cultural perspective. Self-reliance and pride in cultural origin are prevalent in all aspects of life here.' With a population of approximately 2.3 million, Oman is being modernised and liberalised culturally and financially by hereditary Sultan, Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said. He's a forward-thinking ruler, who is actively trying to diversify the country's economy and its reliance on diminishing oil reserves.

Oman has one of the strongest economies in the Gulf; the government projects that GDP will increase by six per cent this year, thanks largely to Vision 2020, which represents Sultan Qaboos's strategy for economic growth up till 2020.

The Sultan's appetite for real estate was stimulated by the 2004 property boom in Dubai and other parts of the Middle East. As a result, he introduced legislation in 2004 -- ratified in 2006 -- allowing overseas nationals to purchase freehold property and land in designated tourist areas in Oman.

These projects, most of which are located in the capital of Muscat, are referred to as Integrated Tourism Complexes (ITCs) and have inevitably fuelled greater demand for homes in the country.

'The impact of the Royal Decree pertaining to expatriates owning a home in Oman has been positive in attracting foreign direct investment in the country as well as opening up Oman as a tourist destination because of its scenic beauty and investment opportunities,' says Ayjaz.

Oman's desire to become a highend destination for holidaymakers worldwide has inevitably attracted more international property investors and holiday homeowners, and led to the evolution of an emerging and diverse property market.

'The introduction of ITCs was one of the key ingredients for planned growth in tourism levels,' says Christopher Steel, of Savills Oman. The Omani market offers a low-risk strategy for homeowners and wise property investors seeking a safe haven.' Steel, who refers to Oman as the 'Switzerland of the Middle East', reports that around 70 per cent of all people buying homes in ITCs are foreigners, mostly from the Indian subcontinent, Germany, Scandinavia and Britain.

The introduction of foreign buyers inevitably led to an increase in prices for properties between 2006 and 2008. But the market has not been unaffected by the global financial turmoil.

PRICES are reportedly up to 25 per cent lower than their 2008 peak, which has led to some construction projects being put on hold.

'Prices for properties within ITCs dipped significantly from the highs of early 2008, but have now stabilised and are showing signs of recovery,' says Matthew Wright, of Cluttons Oman.

Oman, however, managed to steer clear of the high-risk, high-return, boom-bust investments which were so damaging to other property markets, like Dubai. This should stand it in good stead for the future.

John Roberts, of Craven Property Group, a property marketing consultancy, says the property market has already experienced an upsurge in activity this year. Roberts comments: 'Sales slowed considerably during the global financial crisis as they did all over the world, but the market is recovering; sales have picked up since the turn of the year and [property] funds are now coming back into the country.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

An Arabian Treasure; Oman's Property Market Is Developing in Stylish Fashion, and without a Tower Block in Sight, Reports Mark Da Silva
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?