Qatar – The largest LNG exporter of the World
Qatar is a country that combines traditional authentic culture with modernity.
It has an all year sunshine with hot summers and mild winters. Its population is relatively young estimated around 2.8 million.
Qatar’s, economy is highly dependable on oil and natural gas reserves.
“It is the fifth largest gas producer and second largest gas exporter and largest LNG exporter” according to World Bank report.
Qatar’s National Vision 2030 aims on the better utilization of its reserves, so as to build a more diverse and competitive economy by expanding its operations in other industries and services.
Qatar’s annual GDP growth from 1.5% in 2018, declined to -0.18% in 2019. This means that the GDP’s value dropped from $191.36 billion in 2018 to $183.47 billion in 2019.
Also, Trading Economics predict that by the end of 2020 Qatar’s GDP will drop to $160 billion, but it will revive in 2022 and reach the value of $195 billion.
In fact, the Qatar’s economy has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in a number of unfortunate results such as economic downturn, decrease in the tourism sector and the drop of energy prices.
However, Qatar along with its neighboring countries, which are also rich in Oil and Gas reserves, is expected to revive easily.
In fact, it is projected that Qatar will receive high numbers of investments from 2021 and onwards, when the confidence of potential investors will be reestablished, and the number of exports increased.
Also, according to Economy Watch “Qatar’s main industries include crude oil production and refining, ammonia, fertilizers, petrochemicals, steel reinforcing bars, cement and commercial ship repair”.
According to PWC, “An entity that is wholly or partially foreign owned and derives income from sources in Qatar is taxable in Qatar”
Also, there is no corporate income tax to any entity that is Qatari nationals owned and GCC nationals Qatar resident owned.
Moreover, there are no income taxes on wages, capital gains taxes, estate taxes, wealth taxes or gift taxes, property taxes or transfer taxes and sales taxes, as well as VAT.
However, the Customs Duties tax is at a 5% rate and employers are obligated by law to pay social insurance for Qatari employees, but they do not have obligation to pay any social insurance for any other employee of different nationality.
Real Estate Market
The real estate market of Qatar is still negatively affected by the consequences emerged from trade prohibitions established in 2017 (by certain neighboring countries) and the fluctuations of oil prices.
However, it is predicted that the 2022 FIFA World Cup infrastructure projects are going to increase the value of Doha’s real estate market and nearby areas.
In addition, the government of Qatar has conducted a number of legislative and regulatory reforms mainly focusing on empowering the real estate market.
According to Oxford Business Group “In May 2019 the Cabinet approved a new draft law covering the regulation of real estate development, while proposing the expansion of companies and entities permit to participate in tenders, auctions, practices, competitions and direct agreements”.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment made the acquisition of building permits and construction certificates much easier, with the use of a single online application.
Also, the Qatari Government increased the freehold zones from 3 to 10, which means that non-Qataris can purchase freehold properties in more areas in Qatar.
These areas are:
- Qatifiya West Bay
- The Pearl
- Al Khor Resort
- Al Qasar (administrative area)
- Al Dafna (administrative area)
- Onaiza (administrative area)
- Al Wasil
- JabalThaileb (investment area)
- Rawadat Al-Jahaniyah (investment area)
The higher number of freehold property zones is definitely a positive initiative since it may lead to the attraction of higher numbers of foreign investments in Qatar’s real estate market.
In addition to this, along with this initiative, the government of Qatar amended the rules for obtaining visas, in order to further encourage foreign investments.
The new rules of visa allow homebuyers to acquire real estate visas, which means that they can live in Qatar without a sponsorship when they purchase a property of a certain value.
Moreover, according to Gulf Times, Qatar’s current real estate market offers a fantastic opportunity for potential buyers and renters. The reason is that the current socio-economic circumstances caused by Covid-19 pandemic have devalued the real estate market, which means that you can get a better property unit in an affordable price.
Additionally, according to Global Property Guide News, the real estate price index of Qatar recorded a 3.67% decrease in the first quarter of 2020 and a 1.15% decrease in property prices in the second quarter of 2020.
However, the real estate market is expected to grow further and revive from the current devaluation in properties. There are many projects which are going to transform the country and attract more investments.
For example, one of the biggest projects is the Gewan Island is going to accommodate 3000 citizens and 6000 guests. It combines 611 units, retail, hospitality, and entertainment amenities.
Another project is the long awaited Katara Towers at Lusail Marina District. The specific project incorporates several facilities and amenities i.e. five and six-star hotels, recreational and entertainment facilities, boutiques, movie theatres and restaurants.
It is noteworthy to mention that many of these projects are utilizing technology and new structural designs to incorporate the country’s climate, culture, and environmental consciousness. They are creating buildings that are environmentally friendly, providing shade in more areas, and growing the number of amenities available to tourists and locals whilst incorporating the country’s beauties.
These projects are only a small proportion of the upcoming projects in Qatar, but they connote a significant step into the process of upgrading Qatar’s real estate value. Of course, the aforementioned – projects along with many others are considered to be the cornerstones for encouraging foreign investments and serve as positive indications of the country’s potential and prosperity.