Oman’s struggling rental market likely to fall further with new expat visa restrictions: Reports

A view of a port in Muscat, Oman. (Shutterstock)
Updated 31 January 2018
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Oman’s struggling rental market likely to fall further with new expat visa restrictions: Reports

DUBAI: Rents in Oman are expected to fall again in 2018, according to property experts, following the announcement of new visa rules that ban expat workers from specific professions, coupled with an oversupply of properties, national daily Times of Oman reported.
“There is an effect due to the new expat laws. With fewer expats coming, there will be fewer people renting houses, so the market will go down this year. I think the only way is to allow more freedom for expats,”Ammar Al-Safar, rental in-charge at the Al Qandeel Real Estate told the paper.
“Once they come in, they have to rent a house, buy a car, bring their family and send their children to school. All of this is a boost to the economy and without it, the real estate sector will go down,” Al-Safar added.
International real estate companies reported that the market in Oman was struggling, with UK-based Cluttons showing that rents in the country hit an all-time low in 2017 — and prices are expected to fall further due to the new expat restriction laws.
The Cluttons report shows that the market fell by 25 percent on average in 2017, but in some parts of the region around the capital, Muscat dropping more that 50 percent.


Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

Updated 24 March 2019
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Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

  • The initiative will help Abu Dhabi reduce reliance on oil
  • Mubadala hopes to attract Chinese and Indian companies

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi will commit up to $272 million to support technology start-ups, it said on Sunday, in a dedicated hub as part of efforts to diversify its economy.

US tech giant Microsoft will be a strategic partner, providing technology and cloud services to the businesses that join the hub as the capital of the United Arab Emirates continues its push to reduce reliance on oil revenue.
Abu Dhabi derives about 50 percent of its real gross domestic product and about 90 percent of central government revenue from the hydrocarbon sector, according to ratings agency S&P.
The emirate launched a $13.6 billion stimulus fund, Ghadan 21, in September last year to accelerate economic growth. Ghadan means tomorrow in Arabic. The new initiative, named Hub 71, is linked to Ghadan will also involve the launch of a $136 million fund to invest in start-ups, said Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ventures, the technology arm of Mubadala Investment Co.
The goal is to have 100 companies over the next three to five years, Ajami said. “The market opportunities in this region are immense,” he added.
Mubadala, with assets of $225 billion and a big investor in tech companies, will act as the driver of the hub, located in the emirate’s financial district.
Softbank will be active in the hub and support the expansion of companies in which it has invested, Ajami said, adding that Mubadala is also aiming to attract Chinese and Indian companies, among others.
Mubadala which has committed $15 billion to the Softbank Vision Fund, plans to launch a $400 million fund to invest in leading European technology companies.
Incentives mapped out by the government include housing, office space and health insurance as part of the $272 million commitment, Ajami said.
Abu Dhabi will also announce a new research and development initiative on Monday linked to the Ghadan 21 plan, according to an invitation sent to journalists.