Oman real estate shows green shoots of recovery

Prices nearly 10% higher than 2007 as buyers return to housing market

NEWS, Business

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Oman’s battered real estate market is showing early signs of recovery after seeing prices plunge 25 percent from their peak, industry experts have said.

The sultanate, which offers full freehold ownership and residency visas to homeowners, is slowly emerging from the gloom of the past two years, said Michael Lenarduzzi, CEO of state-backed real estate development The Wave.

“From its peak it has come down about 25 percent,” he said. “[But prices] have sort of settled now,” he said, adding that prices are about 10 percent higher than those seen in 2007.

Real estate consultancy Better Homes also reported that investor sentiment is starting to flow back into the Oman market.

As a broad brush… overall, that is a pretty good view,” said Glenn Meek, general manager of the Oman branch. “The local market did suffer from the crash two years ago but it is still very vibrant… [and] a lot more people are venturing back into the market.”

Key to the rebound has been the return of end-users, rather than the speculators that dominated the market during the Gulf-wide boom years.

“People are buying, not in the volumes they were, but they are there,” Meek said.

CB Richard Ellis, one of the world’s largest real estate consultancies, said prospects for Oman’s real estate market looked positive for the year ahead.

“Activity in the Muscat residential sector remained subdued during 2010… amidst the backdrop of reduced employment,” it said in a recent report.”[But] 2011 is likely to see a return to more positive territory as more bullish economic expansion takes place.”

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