Foreigners, Nigerians inclusive, can now own land and property in investment areas in Abu Dhabi on a freehold basis.
This came after landmark changes were made to real estate law in the country as announced on Wednesday, April 17.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E).
The Kingdom previously limited ownership largely to Emiratis and citizens of the neighbouring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
Instead, residential units in investment areas will now be registered under the city’s freehold law.
Previously, foreign investors in Abu Dhabi were largely restricted to 99-year leases.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, had directed Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, to review the emirate’s real estate sector development in line with international trends and standards.
The Abu Dhabi Executive Committee raised a proposal to update the Real Property Law, following a study on the emirate’s real estate sector, and the holding of a series of meetings with stakeholders, investors and real estate developers, to identify means to develop the sector, and consolidate the status of Abu Dhabi as an investment destination.
“Updating the Real Property Law reflects the leadership’s support and vision to develop the emirate’s economy,” Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed said.
He noted that the amendments will have a positive effect on the real estate sector, and will encourage investors to acquire land in designated investment zones within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, with ample room for development opportunities.
In his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has issued a law amending provisions of Law No. 19 of 2005 concerning real estate sector in Abu Dhabi.
The new law stipulates amendments to Articles 3 and 4 of the ‘Real Property Law’.
Article 3 (i) stipulates the rights to own property are limited to three categories, the first being Emirati citizens, natural or legal persons, the second includes public holding companies with ownership not exceeding 49 per cent non-nationals, or the third as any person to whom a decision is issued by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince or the President of the Executive Council.
Article 3 (ii) stipulates that non-UAE nationals, natural or legal persons, shall have the right to own and acquire all original and in-kind rights in real estate properties located within investment areas.