Bahrain, literally meaning two seas, comprises a cluster of thirty-three islands, sandwiched between the shores of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Bahrain’s total area spans nearly 700 square kilometers, of which Bahrain alone, the single largest island, occupies nearly 600 square kilometers or more than 80%. Land availability is extremely limited and is the driving force behind the recent up- rise in Real Estate investments in Bahrain.
Bahrain is regarded as the most liberal of the Arab countries, not only for its economic liberties, but also for its cultural outlook and accommodation. The ruler and the local populace take pride in their openness and respect for other communities and it is this pragmatism that has taken Bahrain to where it is today.
Speedy industrialization, transparency in dealings, simple rules and regulations has contributed to the elitism that pervades Bahrain today. One hundred percent ownership is permitted in certain categories of investments by foreigners and that includes real estate investments. There are no personal income taxes or withholding taxes or restriction in repatriation of profits. There are no corporate taxes and the local currency- the Bahrain Dinar is fully convertible and transferable. Inflation is sustained at 2% levels and the expatriate community dons a high standard of living with plenty of money to spare. The under–sea tunnel named after the King Fahad provides instant access to Saudi Arabia, the biggest economy in the region. There is no customs duty imposed on import of raw materials or semi finished products meant for re export.
Behind all these liberalizations, lies the fact that nearly one third of Bahrain’s residents are expatriates, who have given the country the present cosmopolitan and global hue. The country’s day and night lifestyle have been shaped by this influential community. Bahrain is a country that cherishes international relationships and has adopted English as the business language in the country. Though a devout Muslim state, Bahrain boasts of four churches and a synagogue, a rare occurrence in an Islamic country that sympathizes with the Palestinian cause.
What drive real estate investments in Bahrain?
Bahrain’s liberal economy is known for its stability and diversity. While Oil contributes to nearly 43% of the gross national income, it is the services sector that provides 57% of the income to the government in the form of fees etc. The non–oil industry recorded a growth of 80% last year, opening up new avenues of investments and opportunities for the private sector. Among these sectors in Bahrain is the thriving financial services industry. One can be amazed by the towering edifices of the Financial Services Institutions like banks that also include in an ample measure the Insurance sectors. These buildings stand as unmistakable evidences that Bahrain is the financial headquarters of the Middle East. Additionally the financial services industry is thriving behind a labor force that can be hired at one third costs prevalent in industrialized nations. The services Industry is abound with visitors from such diversified arenas as commodity dealers, oil related participants, and foreign exchange traders.
The time zone and location of Bahrain is also a key factor for Bahrain’s thrust in Real Estate. Lately, tourism is also thriving with a myriad of hotels abounding across the length and breadth of the country. Few of the noted names among them are the Windsor Tower Hotel, Ramada Palace Hotel Bahrain, Mercure Grand Hotel, Radisson SAS Diplomat Hotel, Novotel Al Dana Resort Bahrain, Somerset Al Fateh and Sheraton Bahrain Hotel. These only prove that Bahrain is an emerging real estate haven in the Middle East.