Hosting World Cup stimulates real estate sector in Qatar

December 2, 2022

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which kicked off on November 20, provided the impetus to all sectors of the Qatari economy, including the real estate sector, whose fields received huge investments in light of the government’s keenness to provide the necessary incentives for this sector.

The real estate sector has benefited over the past 12 years from huge spending on ‘major projects’ and infrastructure projects related to the World Cup since Qatar’s historic victory in organizing the most prominent global football event, which is being held for the first time in the Arab and Islamic region.

Since that victory, and starting with its general budget for the year 2011-2012, Qatar has so far spent about QR730 billion on ‘major projects’ and infrastructure projects serving the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Spending was generous on the construction of stadiums, training grounds, metro, subway networks, airports, ports, water, electricity, sewage, parks, hospitals, schools, public transportation, and other logistical works.

The financial allocations for these projects also allowed Qatari government companies and private investors to spend billions of riyals on commercial projects, such as shopping centers, hotels, real estate, and entertainment arenas, which resonated in all arteries of the Qatari economy, including the tourism sector.

In light of the infrastructure and other projects related to the World Cup, tourism and hotel occupancy rates are likely to flourish, and the number of tourists in the country will triple, to reach 7 million annually by 2030.

And just as the spending allocated by the state paved the way for the World Cup, it also provided all the reasons for success in terms of sports and logistical equipment and construction, to organize an exceptional World Cup, it sparked a major modernization in the country to achieve an integrated infrastructure of the latest model and distinguished facilities.

The requirements of the Qatar National Vision 2030, and the plans and objectives of diversifying the Qatari economy, have been reinforced by heavy investment in non-oil sectors.

At the forefront of these sectors is the real estate sector, which has witnessed a wide renaissance in recent years, with which it has become one of the most attractive sectors for capital in Qatar, and one of the most dynamic and attractive markets in the Middle East.

Market research agency Mordor Intelligence has estimated the sector’s compound annual growth rate of 11.5 percent for residential, 13 percent for commercial, and 7.5 percent for luxury residential over the next five years.

The latest report of Al Asmakh Real Estate Projects Company stated that the indicators for the year 2022 carry positive expectations for construction in Qatar, amid a positive reflection of expected economic activity. This is expected to affect real estate trading in residential, commercial and administrative sectors, indicating a future direction to focus on the projects included in the third national development strategy. Besides. it will provide the necessary financial allocations to complete the implementation of strategic projects in accordance with Qatar National Vision 2030, especially projects related to supporting economic diversification and achieving sustainability, as well as projects in the health and education sectors.

In this context, the financial analyst and real estate expert Ahmed Aqel, said in a statement to QNA, that the performance of the real estate sector in Qatar was remarkable during the past years, as a result of the strong growth, high demand supported by the recovery from the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and the lifting of restrictions on movement, mainly also from the World Cup, in addition to the increase in the population of Qatar to more than 3 million people.

He stressed that these factors contributed to the increase in demand, especially for residential real estate, and directly affected the profits and performance of the real estate companies listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange, as they were able to achieve excellent growth, raising their profits in the third quarter of the year 2022 to approximately one billion and 300 million riyals, compared to one billion and 163 million riyals in the same period last year, and therefore the growth rate was more than 12 percent and it is expected that the financial results during the fourth quarter will be exceptional for the sector.

He pointed to the strong support received by the real estate sector in the country from the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and the facilities and government support represented in a set of positive incentives that expanded the circle of non-Qatari ownership and use of the real estate, in accordance with conditions, controls, and advantages, including Cabinet Resolution No. 28 of 2020, which stimulated investors to enter the real estate market, this is in parallel with the construction of a large number of new hotels, and the activity of the retail sector, which included more than 500,000 square meters of retail space during the year 2022.

In addition to the huge deal numbers, and high rental and occupancy rates that reflect the prosperity of the sector, aggregated data issued by the Planning and Statistics Authority indicate that the number of building permits reached 34,570 permits in four years, of which 9,505 permits were obtained in 2021, which is the highest level of building permits monitored since the issuance of monthly and annual data issued by the authority.

The government’s pursuit of economic diversification and support for the real estate sector strengthens the development of infrastructure, resulting in the implementation of world-class construction projects such as the Msheireb Downtown Doha, Lusail City, and the Pearl-Qatar. Moreover, the government announced last September the establishment of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority, which will be responsible for preparing a national plan to regulate and strengthen the real estate sector, in parallel with the issuance of many laws and legislations that encourage investment in the sector, most notably allowing non-Qataris to own and benefit from real estate properties in 25 areas; 9 areas of which 100 percent freehold ownership is permitted.

In this regard, Property Finder Group Qatar Country Manager Afaf Hashim confirmed in a similar statement to QNA that the next formula of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority will facilitate the expansion of foreign investment goals in Qatar, and increase its attractiveness as an economic center, in addition to raising investor and buyer confidence to invest in the Qatari market, as well as multiplying the areas in which foreigners are allowed to invest.

On whether the local real estate market has been saturated or still has room for expansion and growth opportunities, Hashim confirmed that the local market has not reached saturation yet, as 1,251 real estate transactions were conducted in the first quarter of 2022, according to the quarterly real estate bulletin issued by the Ministry of Justice, indicating that the sales market in Qatar is still on the rise.

A recent report issued by the Investment Promotion Agency of Qatar (IPA Qatar), and Ernst and Young showed that the real estate sector will maintain a positive trend in the future in parallel with the increasing demand stemming from foreign ownership laws, Qatar hosting huge sporting events, and supply growth of 6.9 percent during the period the 2010-2020 period.

The report considered that this, in addition to the investment opportunities available in all fields: commercial, residential, and retail indicate the prosperity of the real estate sector and its strong performance, supported by huge Qatari investments in infrastructure, legislative reforms, a positive economic outlook, and an increase in the number of expatriates to the country.

Data published on the agency’s website show that the value of construction projects under implementation in Qatar amounted to $250 billion. The value of developing smart infrastructure and real estate in Lusail City amounted to $45 billion, while the value of investment opportunities in the housing units sector is estimated at $12.4 billion.

The sector has contributed to more than $29 billion in the country’s economy in 2018, paving the way for an increase in the number of companies participating in the real estate market, and making it show exceptional stability in the face of the economic difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Estimations predict the value of economic gains Qatar will reap from hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will reach QR62 billion, with Qatar’s economic growth rate expected to reach 3.4 percent (and a growth of 4.1 percent in the non-oil sector) during the current year, according to the International Monetary Fund, the Qatari real estate sector appears promising and a safe haven for investments in the coming years.

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