National Plan for the Real Estate sector in Bahrain
The Bahrain Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) has set out a National Plan for the Real Estate sector which, in line with the Kingdom's Economic Vision 2020, aims to diversify Bahrain's economy, attract investment into the Kingdom, and to promote the growth and development of the Real Estate industry, making Bahrain a regional leader in the sector.
The publication of the plan has been much anticipated since RERA's inception, as the provision and implementation of a National Real Estate Plan is one of the main functions of RERA set out in the law which established the authority, Law 27 of 2017 Promulgating the Real Estate Regulation Law.
In this article, we take a look at the main themes of the National Real Estate Plan and set out its aims for the future of Bahrain Real Estate.
The five-pillar plan has taken into consideration widely implemented international practices, the needs and preservation of the rights of all stakeholders, and the development of the existing regulatory framework – its key
themes are sustainability, innovation, transparency and cohesion. In it's publication of the plan RERA has provided a brief summary of each pillar and working priorities which are aimed to be implemented within the next four years, between 2021 and 2024.
The first pillar is focused on innovation and improving the efficiency of existing practices through the use of real-estate focused digital technologies. While this pillar expects to attract global experts in the field of real estate technology into the Kingdom, RERA also hopes to create opportunities for Bahraini citizens in the move towards modern technologies. The plan expects that the fast-move into technology development and innovation will create high-income job opportunities for citizens who hope to join in the growth of the sector. Additionally, RERA have set out the aim to incorporate general real estate knowledge, as well as real estate technology specifically, into Bahrain's education curricula through cooperation with educational and training institutes in the hope to educate young Bahrainis on the sector and to encourage them to provide support in the growing sector.
Pillar 2 aims to harmonise the governmental procedures required to obtain approvals for real estate developments by appointing a single central authority to act as the point of contact between investors/developers and government authorities and increase the efficiency of the overall process by making it more streamline. This will be good news for real estate developers and investors who often find dealing with multiple government agencies a difficult process. Alongside this, RERA will also launch incentive initiatives to encourage investors and developers to invest in the Kingdom.
Under pillar 3, a real estate database will be established at RERA, in order to provide investors with accurate, up-to-date, and reliable information and ensuring that all information can be obtained easily, and from a single, authorised source. The database is expected to launch by 2022.
As the Kingdom moves towards sustainability in various sectors, pillar 4 encourages the application of sustainable practices specifically within the real estate sector. This will begin with increasing awareness towards environmentally friendly real estate projects and urging the use and development of methods which aim to reduce the use of non-renewable resources. This will be done through the promotion of 'Transit-oriented development' projects, which are categorised as modern integrated urban developments. The aim is that these types of projects will decrease the dependency on vehicles and encourage the establishment of public streets free of cars, therefore, having a lower contribution to air pollution. This is an exciting aim for future real estate projects in Bahrain and should lead to some innovative new projects by dynamic developers.
The final pillar, in line with the theme of transparency and similar to Pillar 3, aims to protect the interests of investors within the real estate sector by ensuring that they are able to obtain complete and accurate information related to their rights, obligations, and restrictions. This will be done through the full disclosure of these rights, obligations, and restrictions in all new sales contracts. This will be a key new development in the sale and purchase process of land in Bahrain, where currently rights and restrictions over land are not always fully disclosed or transparent to buyers. This will certainly be welcomed by investors who may have previously had concerns over the transparency of land transactions. This pillar also looks towards the development of professionalism within the sector, by encouraging rental agents to obtain a RERA licence to regulate the practices within the profession, and protect the rights of owners and tenants whilst reducing rental disputes at the same time.
Overall, the National Real Estate Plan contains some very admirable and but also practical aims for the real estate sector. We look forward to seeing the implementation of these aims, which will make life easier for developers and investors, and should also lead to some exciting new sustainable projects in the Kingdom.