A government team began an executive study to prepare a proposal that will allow expats living in the country to own real estate, expected to be presented to the new government that will be formed following National Assembly elections. The study includes granting non-Kuwaitis the right to own a residential flat in an investment building, provided the applicant has a permanent residency permit and has not been convicted for any honor or trust crime during their entire stay in Kuwait. The flat must be used for private residence for the applicant or their family, and should not be more than 350 sq m. The person must not own another apartment in Kuwait.
The current law allows an Arab expat to own only one flat in Kuwait following approval by the Cabinet and a decree in this regard. The new proposal aims at expanding this issue to include all expats, Arabs or otherwise. Title deeds will be issued by a decision from the justice minister, and not a decree by the Cabinet. The study says allowing expats to own property may lead to investment in Kuwait instead of transferring it to their countries, especially since remittances exceed $20 billion annually, which is a huge amount, depriving Kuwait from benefiting from this money.
The study shows that by allowing expats to own flats in Kuwait, the government can develop the mortgage market like other GCC markets. The study does not see any risk from ownership, as it is expected only 1,000 flats will be sold to expats annually, which is a small percentage out of the 400,000 flats in investment areas. The study shows Kuwait created an investment authority to attract and encourage direct foreign investments in Kuwait, and one of the incentives to attract these investments is to grant investors the right to own flats. This will bring social benefits as expats will find a form of stability in Kuwait, so they will increase their investments in the country./Kuwait Times