Now that Sharjah has opened up the property market to all UAE residents, over half would consider buying there, our survey of 800 expats, run jointly with, found.

The government of Sharjah announced last month that UAE expats could buy on leasehold for up to 100 years, with the first development the 1,800-plot Tilal City.

First, of course, are people already living in or around Sharjah, who can finally buy their dream home, just like their counterparts in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A whopping 85 percent of respondents currently living in Sharjah said they were interested in buying. [Tweet this]

But there were also those who saw Sharjah as an attractive, more affordable place to buy, now that prices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are out of reach for many. Most of those, around 60 percent, would buy to live in the property, whilst the others would buy as an investment, hoping for both a good rental income and increase in property prices.

[Compare UAE mortgages | Real cost of buying in the UAE | Cost of buying vs renting compared]

Expat Arabs were the most positive – almost 80 percent  would consider buying in Sharjah, followed by expats from Africa and from Asia. Western expats show the least appetite. GCC and UAE nationals were not surveyed as they can already buy both land and property in Sharjah. [Tweet this]

‘Rent hikes encouraging shift to owning’ statistics confirm the healthy interest in renting or buying in Sharjah – 10 percent of all users landing on their site were searching for Sharjah as a keyword.

Similarly, close to 10 percent of users requesting home finance in the UAE via are from Sharjah.

The results of this survey suggests strong appetite in the property market in Sharjah. This could be explained by people looking for alternatives to Dubai rents after 10 quarters of rent hikes.

At the same time, for those already in Sharjah, the 35 percent rent increases over the last year could encourage a shift from renting to owning.

Power cuts an issue

While the sentiment of the survey was overwhelmingly positive, a few respondents still expressed some concerns. Some comments mentioned relate to logistical issues such as traffic and power cuts in Sharjah.

Other factors mentioned were uncertainty about the market situation, regulations or exact requirements to be able to buy – or just a lack of awareness of the recent changes in the rules and on not being able to buy freehold.

Michael Lahyani, CEO of propertyfinder group, said: “Allowing foreign investors to acquire real estate in Sharjah demonstrates further how the UAE is open to expansion. Welcoming more of this investment across the country once again shows the forward thinking vision from our Rulers that will lead to more economical prosperity for the country. It is now up to the real estate industry to provide relevant information to inform people about this new opportunity.”

Survey results

1. Would you buy in Sharjah? Results by which emirate respondents are from

Would you buy? Abu Dhabi Dubai Sharjah Other emirates
Yes 64% 61% 85% 68%
No 36% 39% 15% 32%

2. Would you buy in Sharjah? Results by nationality

Would you buy? Expat African Expat Arab Expat Asian Expat Westerner
Yes 69% 79% 65% 51%
No 31% 21% 35% 49%

3. Why would you buy in Sharjah?

Why yes Total
To live in 57%
To rent out 26%
I expect property prices to go up in Sharjah 13%
Other 4%