Kuwaitisation and the pandemic causing chaos in Kuwait’s expat property sector

Published:  3 Jul at 6 PM
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Kuwaitisation and the coronavirus are set to wreck the emirate’s real estate sector.

Kuwaiti government measures to drastically reduce the numbers of expat workers in the emirate plus the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the housing market are set to wreak havoc on the emirate’s real estate market. The rulers’ attempts to reverse the ratio of expats and citizens to 30/70 has already had an effect on rentals and house prices, with the pandemic sending the sector into negative territory.

To date, some 100,000 expatriates have returned to their home countries, with many citizens seeing this as a good start but others now concerned about its effect on the emirate’s overall economy. Recent governmental moves have already caused property prices to fall and left large numbers of rental properties tenantless, with landlords complaining the measures are too much and being made too fast. Even before the virus struck, salary cuts were causing tenants to fall behind in their rents, and many have now left Kuwait for good.

As a result, investment in property is now in decline, with house prices as well as rental charges heading downwards across the emirate. Supply is now far exceeding demand, and measures to control the pandemic aren’t helping. It’s expected the drop in the numbers of sales and rentals at all price levels will continue well into next year, particularly as regards the commercial and investment sectors, as expat job losses are expected to soar over the next few months. In addition, it’s not yet clear what long-term changes will need to be made as regards keeping the economy stable whilst recovering from covid-19.
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