Monday, November 6, 2017

VAT 'to increase costs for GCC property investors'

The real estate sector is likely to become a costlier investment across the GCC region following the implementation of value-added tax (VAT), according to a survey of local chartered financial analysts (CFA).

With VAT set to be applied on the first sale of properties, 87 per cent of investment professionals said that some or all of the additional expenses incurred by real estate firms will be passed on to investors, stated the survey which assessed the views of CFA society members in the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Other key findings showed that over half (54 per cent) of the members believe that retail investors will be impacted more than institutional investors from the rollout of VAT, with only 4 per cent stating that institutional investors would face greater impact.

Additionally, a majority of the investment expert indicated that their international business partners were not being deterred by the introduction of VAT, with only 18 per cent saying that this is creating a negative reaction from them, the survey found.

Amer Khansaheb, CFA, the president of CFA Society Emirates, said: "The concerns regarding VAT in the region is largely one of perception rather than policy. While it is true that certain areas of the economy will witness marginal higher costs being incurred, this should not deter regional and international investors in a significant way."

"Additionally, with the government revenue this will generate, liquidity levels in the market are expected to improve; which should increase investor confidence and appetite," he added.

Khansaheb pointed out that in the eyes of investors, creating a more regulated environment with greater financial transparency should be a positive development since this is the model in developed economies.
"Given that taxation at higher rates is a norm around the world, the GCC will continue to be attractive as average tax rates are lower than almost all other major markets," said the industry expert.

With regional financial markets expanding, the potential MSCI inclusion for Saudi Arabia, investment in commercial infrastructure and economic diversification programs underway, the GCC will continue to remain a market of opportunity for the investment community.

Respondents also indicated that their companies are either in the process of getting ready (37 per cent) or unprepared (25 per cent) for VAT implementation in January 2018; with 22 per cent saying that their firm has made the adequate preparations for VAT implementation.-TradeArabia News Service

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