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Qatar to offer new areas of real estate for foreign ownership

DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar's cabinet said on Wednesday it would identify several new areas where foreigners can own real estate, state news agency QNA said, part of a campaign to draw more investment to a sector that has been hit in recent years.

Last year Qatar passed a law permitting greater foreign ownership of its real estate sector, but details on how or where it would apply have been unclear. Only a small number of areas are currently open to foreign buying.

As part of the 2018 law, the cabinet said it would now identify 10 locations eligible for full foreign ownership and 16 that could be held for a period of 99 years, QNA reported, without providing details of the locations.

Rental prices in Qatar's real estate sector have fallen about 20 percent in the past three years, in part because of oversupply tied to a rush of construction ahead of its 2022 World Cup.

Another dampener for the sector has been the diplomatic, trade and transport boycott imposed on Qatar in 2017 by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt over allegations, denied by Doha, that it backs Islamist militants.

The protracted dispute has made it tough to lure would-be foreign buyers of residential or commercial space.

Wednesday's cabinet decision said that non-Qataris will also be permitted to own villas within residential complexes and shops within commercial complexes, QNA reported.


(Reporting by Eric Knecht; Editing by Mark Heinrich)