Karachi—Foreign buyers from countries including Pakistan, Russia and Iran may be blacklisted from home loan schemes aimed at attracting overseas investors to the UAE, a mortgage expert has said.
State-backed Islamic home loans company Tamweel last week said it would target foreign investors after the UAE federal government moved to extend property visas for up to three years, Dubai-based Arabian Business reported Sunday. The scheme will offer mortgages on completed properties in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, worth between AED1m and AED5m ($1.36bn), to investors in countries such as the UK, US and GCC.
Tamweel said the home loans would only be available to buyers in “select countries”, a move that may sideline investors from certain Asian and African states, said Dubai-based mortgage broker Sam Wani. “Certain countries where the tax regimes are still suspect; for example those in Russia and the central Asian republics, are not up to internationals standards [and will be exempt],” Wani, general manager of Independent Finance, told Arabian Business.
Real estate sales have plummeted since the days of Dubai’s property bubble, when speculators frequently bought yet-to-be- built homes and sold them at a profit before a single brick was laid. Property prices, already down some 60 percent from their peak, continue to fall, with political instability in the Middle East failing to boost the market, Deutsche Bank said this month.
The UAE government last month said it would extend three-year visas to owners of properties worth AED1m or more, replacing existing visas that require renewal every six months.
The decision may spur fresh demand from overseas buyers, Wani said. “We are getting a lot of enquiries, mainly in the UK.” Neighbouring Gulf state Kuwait in May banned nationals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan from entering the country over fears political unrest in those nations could pose a risk to the Gulf state’s security.
The blacklist included trade, tourism and visit visas as well as visas sponsored by spouses, immigration sources said. The Gulf state’s move was attributed to the “difficult security conditions in the five countries” and the increased risk of nationals bringing over relatives to escape arrest in their home country, immigration sources said.
A number of Gulf states have tightened visa requirements in the wake of the Arab Spring revolts that spread across the Middle East.—NNI
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