Gulf countries are battling over which is the cheapest to buy a home after the publication of house price comparison data.
The cost of living report from the Gulf Co-Operation Council looks at the value of homes in each nation, giving a target price range for single bed apartments and three bedroom villas..
Oman is claiming to be the cheapest place to live – but the figures do not seem to support their argument.
One-bed apartment prices
The report lists the costs of new, freehold one bedroom apartments as:
Oman – $78,000 to $249,600
Saudi Arabia – $78,300 and $729,000
United Arab Emirates – $54,000 and $675,000
Qatar – $153,252 and $324,000
Kuwait – $105,900 and $282,400
Bahrain – $95,400 to $185,500
To most observers, it would seem that the property can be found cheaper in the UAE, providing builders are developing apartments at that end of the market.
Even estate agents in Oman are pointing out that the comparison is not fair, because of a disparity between earnings, visas and the right to buy property granted to expats in the neighbouring states.
“Different factors determine property prices in each country, which reflects on the real estate market. The climate, local facilities like entertainment and shopping, simpler investment procedures for foreign investors, returns on investment and a regulated real estate market all have an impact on the market,” said Ismail Kamel, chief operating officer at Oman’s ERA Real Estate.
Three-bed villa prices
Looking at the price of three-bedroom villas, value for money flips and Oman moves up to become one of the most expensive new build property locations:
Muscat, Oman – $429,000 and $910,000
Manama, Bahrain – $463,750 and $874,500
Kuwait City – $345,950 to $847,200
Doha, Qatar – $540,000 to $1,080,000
Abu Dhabi, UAE – $209,250 and $1,377,000
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – $170,100 to $702,000
Estate agents say Kuwait and Riyadh are cheaper locations because they are less popular with expat investors.
Meanwhile, another report from expat benefits firm ECA International points out that rents for expats in Dubai saw a 30% hike in prime apartments, which was the second highest rise worldwide only outdone by Caracas, Venezuela.
The report ranks Dubai as the 16th most expensive place for expats to buy investment property in the world. Abu Dhabi is a few places lower at 24th.
Hong Kong tops the rankings.