Dubai and Abu Dhabi have long been favourites of overseas property investors, but now there could be a third option to offer a more affordable property investment entry into the United Arab Emirates.
Sharjah could soon be on a par with its better known neighbours thanks to a new law introduced in 2014.
The law now allows expats in the UAE to acquire property in designated areas starting with Tilal City.
At the end of 2014 1,800 mixed-use property lots went on sale, and while the majority of buyers have been Emirati nationals overseas property investors have begun to figure more prominently.
The new law has made Sharjah an affordable entry into the UAE and though it sat in fourth place behind Istanbul in a recent Cluttons survey of most desired real estate investment destinations in the region, Faisal Durrani, head of research at Cluttons expects popularity to rise.
‘I’d not be surprised if at this point it would be Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah as the most preferred,’ says Durrani. ‘In these three cities, there is a diverse range of residential and commercial property options.’
Sharjah is also popular with more affluent investors, already snatching third place behind its two emirate rivals in a 2016 Middle East Private Capital Survey.
Although the rental market does tend to shadow Dubai, rents have not fallen as drastically and Sharjah has maintained, if not strengthened, its edge as a favourite location for those seeking quality housing at affordable prices.
Strong supply to the property market is currently helping to keep prices affordable. The Sahara Complex for example boasts 1,348 apartments over an area of 3.1 million square feet.
New master-planned communities have been announced as well, which reflects a strong appetite for Sharjah real estate.
‘Demand for a slice of Sharjah’s emerging master-planned land market remains high and continues to exceed expectations,’ the Cluttons report states.
Durrani added: ‘Further property investment opportunities in the form of additional gated community developments point to a bright future for the emirate’s rapidly emerging property market profile.’
Most real estate transactions (almost 90 per cent) were concluded in the city areas of Sharjah such as Al Khan, Al Majaz and others, making these areas the safest places for overseas property investors to purchase.
Maybe it is now time to consider the ‘forgotten’ emirate.