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Buying Property

Bahrain - Buying Property

For many years, an expatriate living in Bahrain was only allowed to rent property and neither commercial nor residential premises could be owned by a foreign national. In recent years there has been something of a relaxation in the rules and now foreigners can purchase property but only in certain areas. They are allowed to buy a property if it is freehold and freehold property is only available in certain areas.

The original declaration allowing foreigners to by property states that there are five areas of the capital city where foreigners are allowed to purchase property. The main areas which were set aside include Hoora and parts of the diplomatic area of the city. However, the enforcement of this is not strict and foreigners are buying properties on most developments on reclaimed land. The most popular district for expat buyers is the Seef area and in line with this property prices have risen by around 40%. There is also some property available on different islands for purchase by expats.

The property market in Bahrain has gone from grown considerably with a large amount of investment in both businesses and residential developments. There is still a great deal of land that can be developed and the market is expected to continue to grow. An increasing number of licences have been issued to companies who wish to reclaim land and investors are buying the properties which are built there.

When buying a property it is expected that investors will avail themselves of legal advice throughout the process. When buying off-plan a deposit is required when the contract is signed and regular payments will have to be made throughout the building process. The last payment is made when the property is completed and handed over to the buyer.

Both the buyer and the seller have to pay a 1% registration fee and the title deeds are paid for by the buyer. All estate agents fees are covered by the seller. A 1% stamp duty charge is also applicable and the buyer should also keep in mind that they will have to pay legal fees, which vary depending upon the legal firm being used.

When an expat purchases a property they are able to apply for a permanent residency permit, but in the event of the sale of the property the permit is cancelled. If purchasing property to let to another person, it is worth noting that rental income is untaxed.

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