Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Kuwait to let expats buy property to boost market

Kuwait real estate Unsplash/Ahmad Mohammed
KIA's operations are subject of dispute between the elected parliament, where the opposition holds a majority, and the government
  • Expats could own Kuwaiti real estate for first time under new proposals 
  • Volume of private housing transactions fell 34% last year
  • There are a reported 320,000 investment apartments in Kuwait

Real estate activity in Kuwait has fallen over the past year, but the government is hoping to turn that around by allowing expats to buy property for the first time. 

A ministerial committee has lodged a proposal to the cabinet to allow non-Kuwaitis to own investment residential properties, according to a local media report this week. 

The proposal is due to be discussed by the new parliament to be formed after Kuwait’s national assembly elections on June 6.

Parliament is also expected to review a draft mortgage bill that the government hopes will help address muted demand among property buyers spooked by current high interest rates. 

The total volume of real estate transactions in Kuwait declined by 2.8 percent between January and September 2022, according to investment banking and asset management institution Kuwait Financial Centre, known as Markaz. 

Markaz’s real estate market outlook for the first half of 2023, published in March, said the drop was mainly attributed to a 34.6 percent year-on-year drop in transactions in the private housing segment, even though deal activity in commercial and Istithmari (government-funded) residential property grew. 

The report pointed out that the steep decline in private housing sales last year came against a backdrop of a significant uplift in 2021 “driven by pent-up demand after the easing of Covid restrictions, and the current decline could be indicative of subsiding demand”. 

Residential prices and rents grew in most locations in Kuwait over the nine months to September 2022, according to Markaz, helped by strong economic growth from high oil prices, and a post-pandemic recovery in the private sector.  

Nonetheless, the rise in interest rates with the Kuwaiti dinar pegged to the US dollar, and threats of global recession, “pose threats” to the country’s property market in the months ahead, the report added. 

Under the committee’s proposals, expats would be allowed to own one residential apartment each in a designated investment building, provided they are a permanent and legal resident of Kuwait and have had no civil or criminal court cases filed against them, according to Kuwait Times.

The apartment could not exceed 350 square metres in area. 

There are an estimated 13,000 investment buildings in Kuwait containing a total of 320,000 apartments, many of which are subject to bank mortgages, the newspaper added.

Allowing expats to own them would create fresh liquidity into real estate finance and boost the local economy, it said. 

Latest articles

Etihad Airways is opening new routes to Boston and Nairobi in 2024

ADQ explores potential listing of Etihad Airways

ADQ, the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund, is considering a potential listing of Etihad Airways, making it the first publicly traded airline in the GCC.  The fund has held discussions with banks on a possible floatation deal as soon as this year, Bloomberg reported, citing a source familiar with the deal. ADQ has been weighing the […]

Aramco buys out Chile’s fuel and lubricant retailer

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer, has completed the acquisition of a 100 percent stake in Chile’s downstream fuel and lubricant retailer Esmax Distribución SpA (Esmax). The Chilean company owns and operates retail fuel stations, airport operations, fuel distribution terminals and a lubricant blending plant.  The transaction, which was announced in September 2023, is […]

People, Person, Groupshot

e&’s $6bn pledge to advance ‘affordable’ connectivity

The UAE’s e&, the telecommunications company formerly known as Etisalat, has committed $6 billion to improve network connectivity and digital services across its 16 operating countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The investment pledge was made to the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, which will help drive technological advancement, infrastructure development, […]

Technicians working for Otokar, a maker of heavy commercial and military vehicles, on the production line at a factory in Sakarya, Turkey

Turkish manufacturers buoyed by rise in PMI

Turkish producers are cautiously optimistic after the Turkey Production Managers Index (PMI), which measures the outlook of the country’s manufacturing sector, returned to positive territory in February. According to the latest report issued by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and Standard and Poor’s, this is the first increase after seven straight months of contraction.  The […]