Middle East: The land of promise?

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The Middle East may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think about making an investment in overseas property, but it may be time to revise that view.

A couple of key factors are set to change the way the region sees itself, as well as the way global investors view it.

Below, we look at the main factors behind the changing perception of countries such as Yemen, Qatar and Kuwait;

Attractive cost of living: A recent survey by the global HR consulting firm Mercer found a significant fall in the cost of living throughout the Middle East. The most prominent factor in the fall in living costs was the fact that the majority of the region’s currencies are linked to the US Dollar. Nathalie Constantin-Metral identities this link as particularly important. “As the dollar depreciated against other currencies, it pushed down relative costs,” she said. “Other cities around the world have gone up in the ratings, while Middle East cities have gone down. If you look at the cost of living in local currencies, costs have remained quite stable,” added Constantine-Metral. The survey assessed the cost of several factors including housing, food, transportation, clothing and household goods.

Future investments in infrastructure: When Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup it raised several eyebrows around the world. However, the country looks set to make the most of their good fortune by investing heavily in infrastructure and employment to show the world that they can pull it off. It also means that investing in Qatari property now could mean lucrative rental opportunities when the tournament begins in 11 years time. Football fans from around the world will be there, and they will all need somewhere to stay.

Transfer Money to Kuwait

If you are looking to invest in Kuwait, think carefully about how you will be transferring money to Kuwait. Foreign currency exchange rates quoted by banks are almost always worse than the exchange rates available through specialist currency dealers.

So if you are sending money to Kuwait – which you will inevitably have to do if you are looking to make a property investment, be sure to compare the market before you buy your overseas currency.

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