Contribution of real estate sector to GDP may top 6pc

MANAMA: The real estate sector’s contribution to Bahrain’s GDP is expected to be six per cent by the end of the year, Deputy Prime Minister and ministerial committee for development projects and infrastructure chairman Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa has said.

He said the real estate sector is one of the 10 most important non-oil sectors that contribute to economic growth.

Shaikh Khalid was speaking on the sidelines of the opening of the 12th edition of the Bahrain International Real Estate Exhibition (Bipex 2019).

Organised by the Bahrain Society of Engineers at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre, the three-day event ends today.

“Bipex is a mirror that reflects the kingdom’s growing real estate market, and also embodies the commitment of all stakeholders in ensuring the sector maintains strength, stability, attractiveness and ability to withstand various conditions,” he said.

“The real estate sector in Bahrain has gone through many organisational and administrative stages, until it culminated in the approval of the first comprehensive law on the regulation of this sector, Law No (27) of 2017, which authorised the Real Estate Regulatory Authority to start operating. Since its inception, the authority has issued more than 1,400 licences to real estate managers, sales agents, brokers, developers and owners’ associations.”

According to him, the sound footing of the sector can be gauged from the 5pc rise in mortgage loans granted by banks at BD1.89 billion for the period from January to October 2019 when compared with BD1.8bn for the whole of 2018, along with the 33pc growth in the number of commercial real estate projects expected until 2022.

Bahrain has enhanced its construction permit process through the launch of a new streamlined online platform, Benayat, and has moved up 40 places to rank 17th globally in terms of dealing with construction permits, as assessed by the World Bank in its Doing Business 2020 report, he added.

The new platform delegates the application review processes to licensed engineering firms, reducing the time to obtain a construction permit drastically to within five days.

Statistics issued by the Works, Municipality Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry also show a marked increase in the issuance of building permits.

The number of permits issued until November this year amounted to 7,465, which represents an increase of 5pc when compared with 7092 permits for the whole of 2018.

Talking about stalled projects, the Deputy Premier said, “Since taking charge of the issue in 2015, the ministerial committee has helped in the resumption of many of the projects, and it is hoped that before the end of the year, one of the two projects still under the purview of the committee will get a firm commitment from the developer to complete the project and deliver the units to their owners.”

Organisers said the exhibition attracted 1,500 visitors on the first day.

This year’s edition of Bipex features 45 exhibitors showcasing developments worth billions of dollars.

Dr Dheya Tawfiqi, president of the Bahrain Society of Engineers, said, “The new edition sheds light on the real estate sector in the region, the numerous changes to the sector’s regulatory framework, and infrastructure. Bipex adds a tremendous value to Bahrain’s real estate sector, and continuously shows the indications that the real estate market plays a significant role in the economies of the region.”

According to Bipex chairman Mohammed Al Sayed, the platform is bigger and better this year.

“Not only do we have leading prime sponsors and exhibitors showcasing their developments, but we are also connecting all the leading developers in a successful forum to have futuristic conversations with solutions for the challenges addressed. Our efforts will help reshape the real estate market in Bahrain and deliver the right image to the regional and global audience. Our presence should not be limited to this market but also to several others,” he said.



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