Khalifah Street in Abu Dhabi. The Annual Economic Report 2010 released by the Department of Economic Development says Abu Dhabi has become more open to foreign capital and allows foreign ownership of property up to 100 per cent. Image Credit: AHMED RAMZAN/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Wednesday issued Resolution No. 64 of 2010 which aims to encourage real estate developers and investors in the emirate to register their real estate ownership and makes the process of transferring property ownership easier and faster, the official news agency WAM reported.

The resolution also aims to facilitate the process of acquiring loans to finance real estate investments. It specifies the framework and general rules related to property rights registration procedures.


The resolution stipulates that the director of the property registration department must register all dealings pertaining to the emirate's properties, or any property rights related to ownership, land development lease contract (Musataha) and long-term leases taking place both in and out of investment zones.

The director must also register mortgage contracts, and direct contracts concluded with banks and financing parties.

Speaking to Gulf News, senior executives from Abu Dhabi's real estate sector termed the development as positive for the industry.

"It gives the purchase contract legitimacy and will help the buyers [get] access to finance and mortgage finance which is crucial to end-users. I’d love to see more openness in property regulations. I hope Abu Dhabi Finance will expand financing expatriate buyers," said Wael Tawil, chief executive of Baniyas Investment and Development Company (BID), which is developing the residential Bawabat Al Sharq project in Abu Dhabi.

Gurjit Singh, chief operating officer of Sorouh Real Estate, one of Abu Dhabi’s top real estate developers, said the resolution will help boost real estate development.

Confidence booster

"It's going to give a lot more confidence to the real estate market — to investors, property purchasers and developers," said Singh.

According to the resolution, real estate property ownership is limited to all Emiratis, and to people, companies and bodies who will be specified by a decision issued by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

Gulf Cooperation Council nationals and corporate bodies wholly owned by them are also allowed to own property as long as it is within the investment zones.

Non-Emiratis or corporate bodies will enjoy the right to own, buy, sell, rent, mortgage and invest in investment zones.

The registrar will also have to register these people and corporate bodies, who own apartments and storeyed buildings. The registrar will also issue title deeds to them after they have presented the necessary documents.

They may hold usufruct or Musataha right for up to 50 years (subject to renewal for a similar duration) and usufruct contract for up to 99 years and long-term tenancy contract in properties located in investment areas.

The registrar will register non-Emiratis or corporate bodies in the real estate registry as owners of these rights, after they have presented the necessary official documents specified in the regulations and laws issued by the director of the municipal affairs department.