Buying a property in Qatar can be a great investment. Whether you want to buy a property in Doha for you and your family to live in, or you wish to buy something for other reasons, purchasing real estate can pose many benefits.
However, if you are a non-Qatari you need to adhere to special rules and regulations. For example, foreigners are only allowed to buy property in certain specific areas in Qatar. And that’s not the only thing you need to know before buying a property in Qatar.
In this short guide, you will find out exactly how you can buy real estate in Doha (or elsewhere in Qatar). This quick article can help you in the long run and prevent a lot of future frustration and confusion.
Are you asking yourself the question: Should I buy property in Qatar? Then you want to read this guide first.
Table of contents
Where can I buy a property in Qatar?
In the past, non-Qataris couldn’t buy property in Doha or the rest of Qatar. This changed in 2004 when the Qatari government opened the real estate market for expats. However, options were limited, as expats could only buy real estate in specific districts of the city.
The initial districts that were opened up for non-Qatari purchase were:
- The Pearl
- West Bay Lagoon
- Al Khor Resort Project
Since then the Qatari government has slowly changed regulations further in favour of foreigners purchasing property in Doha. The most recent move forward was the Cabinet Resolution No. 28 of 2020, which opened up several other areas in Qatar for expats for either ownership or benefit of property.
This new resolution granted non-Qataris the right to own and use real estate (freehold) in a total of 9 areas:
- The Pearl
- West Bay (Al Qutaifiya)
- Al Khor Resort
- Al Dafna (Administrative Area No. 60)
- Al Dafna (Administrative Area No. 61)
- Onaiza (Administrative Area No. 63)
- Al Kharayej
- Jabal Thuaileb.
Aside from these freehold areas, the state has further opened up 16 usufruct areas in which non-Qataris may benefit from real estate for 99 years. These areas are:
- Musheireb (area 13)
- Fereej Abdulaziz (area 14)
- Al Doha Al Jadeeda (area 15)
- Old Al Ghanim (area 16)
- Al Rifaa and Old Al Hitmi (area 17)
- Isslata (area 18)
- Fereej Bin Mahmoud (area 22)
- Fereej Bin Mahmoud (area 23)
- Rawdat Al Khail (area 24)
- Al Mansoura and Fereej Bin Durham (area 25)
- Najma (area 26)
- Umm Ghuwailina (area 27)
- Al Khulaifat (area 28)
- Al Sadd (area 38)
- Al Mirqab Al Jadeed and Fereej Al Nasr (area 39)
- Old Doha International Airport (area 48)
To further assist expats in their property search, the Ministry of Justice has recently launched a specific section on their website about non-Qatari land ownership.
As soon as you buy a property in Qatar worth QAR730,000 or above, you are automatically granted a homeowners’ residency permit. This permit entitles you (and your family) to live in Qatar as long as you own the property. The new section on the government website aims to speed up this process for you as it automatically guides you through the residency application procedure.
You can find this portal on the official government website.
Understanding Qatar’s New Property Law
What else you need to know before buying a property in Qatar
Buying a property in Qatar can be quite confusing, especially if you are not from around here. Here are a few more things to consider when you plan on buying a property in Qatar.
Frequency Asked Questions
Residency permits will be issued to those who buy properties valued at 730,000QAR and above. There are different benefit tiers for properties valued from 730,000QAR – 3,650,000 Million QAR and 3,650,000 Million QAR and above.
Those who purchase properties worth 3,650,000QAR and above will receive the same benefits as permanent residency in terms of education, health, and commercial benefits.
Yes, immediate family members (children, spouse, parents) can be sponsored through your residency permit.
Residency granted to expatriates/foreigners through property ownership will be valid for as long as they own the property.
Real estate agencies in Qatar usually charge a commission for any properties bought through them. It is recommended to ask the real estate agency upfront what their commission and/or additional fees would be.
You will receive it as soon as the purchase of the property is complete.
Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to buy property in Qatar.
Yes! It is important you do your due diligence before purchasing a property to ensure the price you are being offered is fair. If you like a property but feel the price is higher than it should be, don’t hesitate to negotiate the price.
If you are buying a property to rent out, it is recommended to check the average rent prices of similar properties in Qatar. You can do this by visiting hapondo.qa and comparing prices of the rental properties to determine how much money you will be making on rent.
No – the new law stipulates that foreigners and expats can purchase both residential and commercial properties in Qatar.
It takes 2-3 weeks to complete the process of property registration.
Properties that use Islamic mortgages would not qualify under the new property law.
Working with a real estate agency
The smartest thing you can do if you are planning to purchase real estate in Qatar is to find a trusted real estate agency or broker.
There are dozens of reputable, well-known real estate agencies in Qatar that can help you during your property search. Here are a few examples of leading agencies in Doha:
- Al Asmakh Real Estate
- Capstone Property
- Gulf Avenues Real Estate
- Just Real Estate
With a trusted real estate agencies by your side, you are much more likely to purchase your new dream property in a matter of days, completely stress-free!
A buying off-plan
Nevertheless, you may decide to try your luck without the help of a real estate agency. Granted, this can save you some money in fees that you would pay the agency for their help. But the process can be a lot more difficult, and for most expats the fees are definitely worth it.
If you do wish to do it yourself you may consider a buying off-plan. This method allows you to buy the property in Qatar directly from the project developer. This is much cheaper than buying a finished property through a real estate agency.
However, the mortgage rules are not as straight forward and unless you are acquainted with Qatari regulations this is not advised. Instead, buying a property in Doha through an agency is much easier.
Closing the deal
Once you found a property you are interested in, whether on your own or through a real estate agency, it is time to negotiate a price and close the deal.
For this process, both parties will hire a lawyer to help with drawing up the contract and finalising things. Once the contract is ready, you will be required to make a down payment. This down payment is usually around 30% of the total price.
Registration of your property
Once the deal is done, it is time to head to the Real Estate Registration and Authentication Department where you register that you have bought the property. This department is a subsection of the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning.
Timeframes: What to expect
On average, buying a property in Qatar takes around 30 days to complete once the contract (or Agreement for Sale) has been signed by both parties.
You are ready to buy property in Qatar
And that is the process. Since initially opening up the market to expats in 2004 the Qatari government has been increasingly welcoming to foreigners. Anno 2020, buying a property in Qatar is easier than ever.
That said, it is always advisable to get in touch with a licensed real estate agency to help you out. It can save you a lot of time and stress.
Happy house hunting!