Expats exit hits Oman real estate rental market

Oman Oman real estate

Oman real estate rental market has witnessed the departure of tens of thousands of expatriates from the Sultanate during the last year, and with COVID-19 still with us, and oil and gas returns still comparatively moderate, the economy continues its modest performance of the last three years.

Revised expatriate visa conditions are certainly a positive move in elevating Omanis to greater levels of responsibility; however, the residential rental market and retail spending are being significantly affected.

The National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) quoted in a report by the Oxford Business Group, indicated that during the 2019 financial year there had been a contraction in the Oman real estate market, buying and selling of houses, of 11%, which is especially significant as residential construction continues.

A leading global real estate advisers indicated just last month that COVID-19, oil prices, and increased visa restrictions, are creating increasingly challenging economic conditions, with Ihsan Kharouf, of Savills Oman, urging caution, and perhaps reflection, mentioning: “Expatriates play a significant role in influencing the demand for Oman real estate’’.

Although most expatriates come to Oman for “the money, the sunshine, the lifestyle’’, and know that they are rarely here for a lifetime, the majority spend well while they are here. Those in the legal, oil and gas, education and service industries rent expensive villas and apartments, buy expensive cars, and live an ‘expat’ lifestyle to the full under the “work hard, play harder’’, banner, all the time spending!