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Unkar Chanian - Senior Associate - Real Estate
It has been a busy year for the real estate sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain as there have been numerous changes to the sector’s regulatory framework, in addition to the development of new innovative technologies.
In this Article, we highlight the changes introduced by the newly established Real Estate Regulatory Authority (‘RERA’) and the recent innovations introduced to the real estate industry in the Kingdom.
RERA was officially formed by the issuance of Royal Decree 69/2017. The central roles of RERA are to:
The establishment of RERA aligns the Kingdom with international best practice standards and enables individuals within the real estate industry to deliver a professional service in a cost-effective and transparent manner.
RERA oversees the development of a national real estate policy supported by a five-year sector strategy. According to the CEO of RERA, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, RERA had initially focused on new developments and the licensing of real estate service providers. The next stages of RERA’s strategy include strengthening real estate practices, driving consumer confidence in a well-functioning property market, ensuring that developments are financially viable, consumers are protected, and that enforcement processes are in place to maintain the highest standards in real estate practice.
Advantages RERA has brought to Bahrain’s Real Estate Market
RERA has introduced the following changes to the Kingdom’s real estate sector:
Next steps for RERA
In order to enhance the sustainability of the Kingdom’s real estate industry, RERA is also working towards regulating the real estate evaluator profession within the Kingdom. Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Abdulla Al Khalifa has stated that RERA will ensure that the Kingdom’s real estate sector aligns itself with international best practice by implementing International Valuation Standards and collaborating with world renowned organisations such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in designing and implementing training and development programmes to further professionalise the real estate valuer sector.
Due to the Kingdom’s reputation as a technology hub within the region and the increased transparency and stability introduced by the establishment of RERA, the Kingdom has recently welcomed its first PropTech company.
Implications of PropTech within Bahrain
PropTech’s launch in the Kingdom is representative of the growing opportunities for real estate investment within the country due to the Kingdom’s low operating costs (30 percent less than other GCC markets) and the large number of mixed-use freehold developments, which offer opportunities to foreign investors.
Additionally, the launch of the first PropTech company within the Kingdom puts the Kingdom at the forefront of the PropTech wave. Globally, the PropTech industry is witnessing rapid expansion, with a 2018 KPMG survey of the real estate industry revealing that 93 percent of respondents feel that traditional real estate organisations must engage with PropTech companies in order to adapt to the changing global environment.
The regulatory clarity introduced by RERA has created a favourable environment in which new technologies can be utilised and developed. RERA has also bolstered investor confidence within the region and has complemented the Kingdom’s efforts to attract private investment into the property market.
Al Tamimi & Company’s Real Estate team regularly advises on All aspects of Real Estate including disposal and acquisitions (with a particular expertise in off-plan sales) and landlord and tenant work. For further information please contact Unkar Chanian (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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