Bahrain is experiencing an economic boom, with several projects designed for the improvement of facilities and convenience of lifestyle. With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Arabian Gulf.
Bahrain is a great place to live and work. It was recently ranked in 5th place as one of the best locations in the world to live, and top choice in the Middle East and Africa in the 2014 HSBC Expat Explorer survey, commissioned by HSBC Expat and conducted by YouGov. The survey looked at quality of life worldwide and Bahrain was also ranked in the top five countries worldwide for finding somewhere to live.
Bahrain's real estate market has experienced substantial growth over the last decade with total stock increasing from 200,000 sq. m. in 2000 to 536,000 sq. m. in 20101. Growth has been predominantly driven by strong population growth, increased domestic disposable income, and greater demand from neighbouring GCC countries.
In September 2012, the government announced plans to spend $5.59bn (BHD 2.1bn) on the construction of over 50,000 houses in the next five years. The five-year housing strategy will see 47,000 units built, along with 10,000 others through alternative housing programmes in partnership with the private sector. Of these, 70% will be constructed by the government, while the remaining 30% will be built by the private sector.
In Q1 2014, the number of real estate transactions in Bahrain increased by 80% compared to Q1 2013. Data from the Survey and Land Registration Bureau showed that the total value of transactions in Q1 2014 was BD344 million. Bahrain’s commitment to the real estate sector can be seen by the amount of financial loans given to real estate and construction companies; in September 2014, loans amounted to 20.1% of all bank lending in Bahrain2.
Below is a list of some of the key development projects in Bahrain, which have been recently initiated and are due for completion in the near future:
Located in the heart of Manama, Bahrain Bay is a landmark $2.5 billion waterfront district comprising residential, commercial and retail spaces. This unique development is an island connected by two bridges forming an inner harbour. Bahrain Bay will include the Kingdom’s Four Seasons Hotel and CapitaLand’s first GCC development, “Raffles City Bahrain”.
Diyar Al Muharraq
Diyar Al Muharraq is the biggest private urban development project in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Spanning an area of 12 square kilometres, Diyar Al Muharraq is the pinnacle of urban living with the development of residential, business, and leisure property located off the northern shore of Muharraq Island. It will accommodate over 100,000 people, offering an unprecedented opportunity for Bahrainis and others by creating new jobs, new homes and new tourism destinations, and by fostering an immense contribution to the economy as a whole.
Bahrain Financial Harbour
Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH) has become the one of the main hubs of the financial sector in Bahrain. The Harbour district covers 380,000 m2 of prime Bahrain waterfront property, and is situated ten minutes from Bahrain International Airport in central Manama. BFH features high specification office space, both in design and leading technology, luxury residential accommodation, together with the retail, hotel, leisure and entertainment opportunities that tenants, investors, and visitors would naturally expect.
The unique $2 billion Al Areen development is spread over an area of 2 million m2.14 The project transforms its distinctive desert location area into a diversified range of health, residential, hospitality and entertainment components. Major components of the development include the Al Areen Palace and Spa, “The Lost Paradise of Dilmun” Water Park, Hotel Al Areen, Al Waha Resort, Oryx Hills, Downtown Al Areen, Sarab Al Areen and a number of residential villages, entertainment and recreational facilities.
Durrat Al Bahrain
Durrat Al Bahrain, located on the south coast of Bahrain, aims to be an exemplary 21st century resort island city. This 21 million m2 master development has been created across a cluster of 15 spectacular islands. It will host more than 2,000 beachfront villas, 3,600 executive apartments and offices, luxury hotels and spa resorts, parks and entertainment precincts, mosques and international schools, premier retail malls and restaurants, a 400-berth marina, and an 18-hole championship golf course designed by leading international golfer, Ernie Els.
Amwaj Islands is a development project created with a vision of returning waterside living to the people of Bahrain. Amwaj Islands combines residential, commercial, and retail space in a 4 million m2 community situated off the coast of Bahrain near Muharraq and just 15 minutes from the capital, Manama. The mixed-use development provides 9.5 kilometres of beachfront land. The islands are connected to the mainland by a 3 kilometres highway.
1DTZ, June 2010
2Economic Development Board, Bahrain Economic Quarterly, September 2014