STOCK Sharjah Skyline / property / residential
To date, freehold launches in Sharjah have been upscale villas, townhouses and low-rise apartment blocks. When will developers go for mid-priced residential towers? (Picture used for illustrative purposes.) Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Property owners in Sharjah are now getting their freehold title deeds issued to them, with developers taking no payments for converting leasehold titles to ownership rights for buyers. This comes as more developers look at possibilities of launching freehold projects in the emirate in the coming months.

It was recently that Sharjah allowed full freehold rights to property investors, whereas earlier they had long-term leaseholds and which could be extended.

Property sales values in Sharjah’s freehold hubs have remained fairly stable through the year, even as Dubai and Abu Dhabi keeps recording 10-20 per cent gains. Sharjah’s freehold launches have mostly been upscale villas and townhouses, as well as apartments in low- to mid-rise buildings within the designated zones.

The reason why Sharjah property values have been stable is because the secondary market is still in a formative phase. And there just aren’t that many listings of ready or soon-to-be-handed over homes being offered through secondary sales.

Straight from developers

There has been talk of developers offering apartments in high-rises, which would add to the freehold property mix in the emirate. Market sources say that developers want to see more sustained investor and end-user interest coming in before they start these launches.

“Right now, Sharjah’s freehold is attracting high networth investors,” said an estate agent. “That’s explains why most of the freehold offplan launches have been for villas and townhouses, with prices well over Dh1 million.

“Sharjah’s property market can attract a lot of end-users if homes priced in the Dh500,000-Dh1.2 million range come to market. Developers will, but they are waiting for the right time to launch.”

In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the property markets’ gains were brought on by end-users wanting to own homes rather than stay put in rented premises. This was the case for most of 2021, but in 2022 and in the year-to-date, investor buying has been leading the way, at least in Dubai.

Freehold titles

Developer sources in Sharjah confirm that they are issuing freehold title deeds to those buyers who bought from them in recent years – or before the decree granting full-fledged freehold rights was granted.

The titles are being issued to completed homes, while on under-construction homes that have been bought, the status has been switched to freehold in the official registry. The market will see a further swell of handovers in the final months of 2023, all of which will add to the base of property owners in Sharjah.

No cost to buyer

Developers are, for the most part, absorbing all of the costs involved in issuing the freehold titles. “It’s a smooth process, hardly taking any time in making the switch from leasehold to freehold,” said a developer.

Incentive to buy?

Property buying in Sharjah until now may have been confined to upper mid-income to wealthy investors, but market sources say that at the right price range, more buyers will come flooding in.

“The demand is there; potential buyers only need to see more under Dh1 million launches,” said an estate agent. “But because of the high mortgage rates, they will need financing incentives. If developers can offer that – like their counterparts in Dubai – the freehold rush will start in Sharjah.”

Almost instantly if end-users get what they want...