Given the expense of life in the Gulf States, you can expect to pay very high rent. Andrea Linehan, who lived in Oman for 10 years, says rent there “mirrors that of Dublin”.
In the United Arab Emirates the property market boomed following the financial crash, but it is now becoming a buyer’s market with more properties available – although that still doesn’t mean prices are be cheap.
“We have seen declining rents and sale prices throughout this year brought on by job cuts as the government tries to adjust to falling oil prices,” says Ben Crompton, managing partner at Crompton Partners Estate Agents, based in Abu Dhabi.
“Demand is always high for apartments for rent but at the moment there is quite a bit of inventory to be taken up . . . but demand from those looking to invest in real estate is limited.”
According to Crompton, the cost of a good three-bedroom apartment starts at about AED165,000 (€42,500) per year, while a three-bedroom villa starts at AED175,000 (€45,000). However, prices in cities such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai are higher than those elsewhere.
If thinking of buying, you will need considerable funds. According to Crompton, banks will lend 75 per cent of the value of the unit, so you will need to have 25 per cent of the cost in cash. Fees for buying usually work out at about 5 per cent, between registration and broker fees.
Expat accommodation across the Gulf is often in gated compounds located outside the city centres. They have shops and other facilities such as gyms, crèches, beauty parlours and restaurants all on site, and dress codes and other rules concerning gender segregation don’t apply. Most villas in the compounds come furnished. The downside is the cost – rents are usually higher here. Some people also find them claustrophobic however.
Addital reporting: Gráinne Loughran