Sharjah plans to free up investment lands owned by the government to the private sector. The emirate has seen a major spike in property sales after the issuance of freehold for all nationalities last year. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: in what is a major boost for its real estate and construction sectors, Sharjah intends to call in private sector partners to develop government-owned land.

The goal? To ‘reclaim them (land) in a way that contributes to achieving comprehensive development in the emirate’, said a statement issued by the Sharjah Executive Council. It should be seen in the context of the move Sharjah made late last year to allow freehold sales and titles to all nationalities.

It set off a renewed burst of property buying in projects such as those from Arada and Majid Al Futtaim Communities in the final weeks of 2022, according to market feedback. The trend continues into this year as well, with developers expected to announce more offplan launches.

In its latest decision, the Sharjah Executive Council will launch ‘significant economic projects’, and support investment opportunities. This is where public-private partnerships come in, whereby land will be offered at favourable rates.

Sharjah sees the need to bring in more areas under urban development in keeping with forecasts of population growth and the subsequent need for homes. The emirate’s current population is estimated at 1.7 million plus.

More legislation
At its recent meeting, the Sharjah Executive Council confirmed the implementing of various development projects, and issue 'more regulatory legislation for all sectors in the emirate'.

New 'suburban councils'

The Council at its meeting also reviewed progress made by 15 suburban councils in the emirate. These entities supervise 96 residential areas. There are plans to expand the suburban councils in line with ‘population growth and urban expansion in the cities and regions’ of Sharjah.

Sharjah has been drawing more businesses to base themselves in the emirate. Its free zones and industrial hubs are proving quite popular, and the belief is these would feed demand into residential projects too. (In 2022, there was a 11 per cent increase in licenses issued for commercial, professional, industrial and other activities.)

Rental situation

According to market reports, Sharjah’s residential rentals are still stuck in a narrow growth range, with some indications that rates actually dropped in the final three months of 2022 in popular neighbourhoods as freehold homes were delivered. Also, tenants were more likely to move into newer and higher quality residential options as more towers were handed over.

Sources say rentals could be in for a rise this year, with new business activity paving the way for higher take up rates for apartments.