DUBAI, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Bahrain is launching an agency to regulate its real estate industry in an effort to crack down on abuses in the sector and draw in more foreign investment.
With state finances hit by low oil prices, the kingdom is seeking to develop non-oil industries, but the image of its property sector has been hurt by reports of rogue agents working without proper training or legal support.
The state-backed Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) will start operating on March 1 and initially focus on licensing real estate service providers and sales of off-plan projects, which are as-yet unbuilt properties.
All real estate professionals, including developers, brokers and sales agents, will need to obtain a licence from RERA by Aug. 31, the official Bahrain News Agency said.
RERA will support Bahrain’s objective of becoming a leading real estate investment destination for both regional and international buyers, BNA quoted the authority’s chief executive Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa as saying.
Weak demand caused average residential rents in Bahrain to fall 16.2 percent from a year earlier, property consultants Cluttons said in a report late last year. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia, editing by David Evans)