Despite these efforts, the property market had a downturn in 2008. Qatar does not often publish official property prices, but analysts estimate that some properties lost as much as 30% of their value.
Qatar's scheme is to market luxury, Riviera-style apartments to foreign investors, thus broadening Qatar's economy to include a larger goods and services sector. However, property prices are more modest in Qatar than in other Gulf countries, and there is also a greater number of mid-level accommodation available.
Where can foreigners buy property?
In 2010, non-GCC foreigners could purchase property in three locations only: the Pearl-Qatar, West Bay Lagoon, and Al Khor. The Pearl-Qatar and West Bay Lagoon are developments near Doha, while Al Khor is a town about 60 km north of Doha. These areas are large and have a lot of mid- to high-end developments, especially The Pearl-Qatar.
Citizens of the GCC (Gulf Country Council) states may also purchase land in Al Khuraj, Lusail and Thaayleb Mountain. As a GCC national, you may hold three Qatar properties at one time.
Qatar also allows foreigners to purchase long-term leases under usufruct. Under usufruct, you essentially own the property and may do anything with it except make it unusable. As of 2010, there were 18 areas in which foreigners could lease property, including Lusail, Doha Al Jaheed, Old Airport and Al Sadd. Leases are valid for a maximum of 99 years and are renewable.
Residence permits for property owners
The Qatari government will grant you a residence permit if you purchase property in Qatar. You will still have to wade through the bureaucracy to get a permit, but you will no longer need a sponsor.
The permit is valid as long as you hold the property. You can request assistance in getting a permit from your real estate agent or your real estate developer.