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Smart buyers research a market before purchase

David Oayda, general manager at Asteco Qatar, says confidence is high in the fledgling Qatari property market.

INTERVIEWS, Business

David Oayda, general manager of Asteco Qatar, says confidence is high in the fledgling Qatari property market but buyers should do their homework first.

What are the residential and commercial developments underway in Qatar?

The Qatar property market is still in its early stages, however, interest and confidence in the market is high and some interesting projects are being developed, with the real estate market experiencing tremendous capital growth of more than 10% per year.

The Pearl Qatar, developed by UDC, is the largest and highest- profile project in Qatar.

It is a US $25 billion (QAR91 billion) offshore, man-made Riviera-style island covering 3,986,169m2 of reclaimed land with 10 distinct districts. When completed, it will house luxury and boutique hotels, three marinas, luxury retail, recreation and restaurant space.

Asteco are sole sales agents for Danat Qatar in The Pearl's Porto Arabia district and Imperial Ruby Tower, our newest project in the upmarket Viva Bahriya district.

Ruby Tower is inspired by Asian, Thai, Indian and Japanese cultures and offers a unique themed lifestyle experience, which is new to the Qatar market.

Other mega projects underway include the Lusail project and the $2.5 billion (QAR 9.1 billion) mixed-use Al Wabb City, although The Pearl is the only freehold development nearing completion.

What should a first-time buyer look for when investing in Qatar?

As I would advise any buyer, it's important that you look for a reputable, quality product; a development that you feel confident buying.

It's also vital for a first-time buyer in particular to choose an affordable payment schedule when buying their first property.

Buyers to the Qatar market have the added opportunity of joining the market early in the cycle, when confidence is high and when costs, including construction costs, are lower and where supply outweighs demand.

What type of mortgages and loans are on offer for property investors in Qatar?

A range of mortgages, including Shariah-compliant financing are available to investors in Qatar.

Asteco in particular works closely with its developers to encourage them to provide a range of payment plans, tailored to suit customer's financial needs with a variety of banks, so as to widen access for buyers to purchase property.

Are the Qataris or expatriates buying property in Qatar? What are the laws governing property in Qatar?

Predominantly property buyers have been from Qatar and the GCC, however we're beginning to see an increase in the number of expatriates buying property, both as an investment opportunity and as an alternative to rental accommodation, which is very expensive in Qatar.

Since 2004, foreign ownership is allowed in three designated areas in Qatar, including The Pearl. Residency is available for foreign investors purchasing in The Pearl.

Like Dubai, Qatar has introduced a rent cap to tackle spiralling rental costs. In general, the property legal framework is in a period of transition, with the government looking into implementing new laws to increase protectionism in the sector for both tenants and owners.

What is your opinion about the Qatar property market and where do you see it going in the next five years?

I firmly believe that this is just the beginning for the property market and that developments such as The Pearl Qatar are only the first step. This is largely as a result of a visionary government and the long-term vision of Qatar's real estate developers.

Asteco anticipates equal growth as the market develops.

What can investors do to safeguard their interest when they are buying an off-plan property?

Buyers who are purchasing in another country should always begin with some research into the market and its purchase regulations.

Again, buyers should base their purchase on reputation and on the quality of the development. I'd also advise buyers to look for an agent who can provide one stop services for the management of their property, particularly when buying to rent.

What do you believe makes for a good property investment in Qatar?

Limited risk - the ability to sell the property on demand and the ability to lease the property, makes for a good investment. Therefore the view, layout and design of the development are important.

Property is a good investment, which brings in more dividends than money in the bank, particularly in a growing and already successful market like Qatar.

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