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While foreigners are now able to buy property, many still rent. “We have a huge number of expats with good financial backgrounds and high monthly incomes, but they prefer to be tenants, even if they live here more than five or 10 years,” Maurer said. “The banks ask for a much higher mortgage rate than in Europe or the US, and it can be difficult for expats who don’t directly work for the government or a semi-government company.” Some investors are also turned off by political instability around the region and being restricted to purchasing  leaseholds (which means you possess the property for a limited amount of time, not in perpetuity as with a freehold) in designated areas such as The Pearl and West Bay.

However the rental market is up due to factors like the 2022 World Cup, which is attracting international and local companies to open offices here or expand their current staff. Villas start at 13,000 Qatari riyal and go up to 25,000 riyal in an affluent area like West Bay Lagoon. Apartments start around 12,000 riyal in West Bay for a furnished two bedroom, and around 7,000 riyal for a furnished two- to three-bed in Al-Sadd. “Any compounds and apartment buildings which have facilities like a well-sized outdoor pool, a restaurant or at least a small coffee shop and some space for kids are rented very fast and may have a waiting list,” Maurer explained.

Further information
Gulf Times: English-language news, business and sport from Qatar and the Gulf Region

Time Out Doha: guide to goings on about town, cultural events, concerts and restaurant reviews

Doha Life: news blog covering life and culture in Doha and around Qatar

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the distance between Doha and Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This has been fixed.

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