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Bahrain Property Buyers’ Guide

The Kingdom of Bahrain, most commonly referred to as just simply Bahrain, is a small country in the Persian Gulf. It is an island nation, consisting of a small archipelago made up of 50 natural islands and an additional 33 artificially constructed islands of which the capital city is Manama. The bulk of the island is situated on Bahrain Island, with causeways and bridges connecting the island to adjacent islands and the mainland of Saudi Arabia.

Offering a unique island life but close enough to access all that Saudi Arabia has to offer, Bahrain is the perfect up and coming destination to buy property. Read on to find out why.

Why Pick Bahrain?

Bahrain has some of the best value for money when it comes to property, offering luxury at affordable prices. By defining several freehold areas for foreign real estate investors, Bahrain has created thriving communities for expats to come and enjoy the jewel of the Persian Gulf.

The currency in Bahrain is the Bahraini Dinar, where 1 BHD is equivalent to £2, $2.65 or €2.35. In terms of cost of living, Bahrain is very affordable as the government doesn’t impose any kind of tax on income or wealth, meaning you’ll be making the most out of your own money. The government subsidies a variety of substantial commodities and keeps the cost of basic services like water, electricity and the internet low so all can access it. Imported goods are expensive, but cheaper local alternatives are everywhere.

Dining out will cost you around 2.5 BHD for a 3-course meal at an inexpensive restaurant and 15 BHD at a mid-range establishment. Food shopping depends on a person’s tastes and habits, but you can expect to pay between 40-50 BHD per month on groceries for a single person. Public transport is very cheap, with a monthly bus pass costing around 14 BHD.

Overall the cost of living in Bahrain is considerably lower than in other countries, and even neighbouring cities such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

What to do in Bahrain

While it is the third-smallest nation in Asia after the Maldives and Singapore, there is plenty to experience in Bahrain.

Rich History

Bahrain began life as the ancient Dilmun civilization, with archaeologists finding evidence linking it back to the Bronze Age and 4th millennium BC. Visit the Bab Al Bahrain, an ancient archaeological gate that allows access to a thriving market selling clothes, crafts, food, gold and pearl jewellery. The Qal’at Al-Bahrain is a UNESCO listed castle that contains monuments to the history of Bahrain. For a more modern destination, the Bahrain National Museum opened in 1988 and contains a collection dating back more than 5000 years.

Food & Drink

Bahrain’s traditional food is made up of a few common ingredients such as meat, fish, rice and dates. The proximity to the Persian Gulf makes fresh fish a large part of the diet, with popular local fish including grouper, mackerel, sea bream and rabbitfish. The national beverage is Qahwah, also known as Arabic coffee but other popular drinks include tea, yoghurt, soft drinks and laban, a kind of salty buttermilk.

One of the most popular Bahraini dishes to try is machboos, which is spiced rice topped with chicken or fish. Another is Qoozi, grilled lamb stuffed with boiled eggs, rice, onions and delicious spices. Also popular are other Arabian foods such as falafel and shawarma. For dessert, Bahrainis love to eat baklava, halwa, kunafa and more.

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is considered one of the highlights of Bahrain. It is a tree located in the middle of the desert without any source of water but has somehow been standing for over 400 years.

Bahrain International Circuit

One of the most popular draws to Bahrain is the Bahrain International Circuit, a motorsport venue opened in 2004 and used for many popular racing events. Events such as the Bahrain Grand Prix bring thousands of tourists to the city each year.

Local & International Travel Information

Bahrain International Airport is the oldest international airport in the Persian Gulf and the main hub for travel to Bahrain. It has recently undergone a billion-dollar expansion that will boost the airport's capacity to 14 million passengers annually, up from its current capacity of slightly less than 10 million. You can travel there from many destinations in the Middle East and across Europe, with connections to it available from elsewhere. A flight from London takes around 6 and a half hours while from the United States could take you 15 hours, with a potential changeover.

Weather

Bahrain has a desert climate, where it is very hot in summer and slightly cooler in winter, but still warm. December to February is usually the cold season while the rest of the year is hot, with peak temperatures in August of around 40 degrees celsius. The cold season is still warm though, with peaks of 23 degrees. On average you can expect 10/11 hours of sunshine in the warm season and 8 hours in the cooler climate.

The desert climate usually means it’s quite humid, with a lot of sunshine and little rain. Most of the rainfall occurs in the winter months and can even be quite intense at times, though it is very rare. There are occasional winds that are hot and dry, increasing the temperature by a few degrees in extreme cases. But in the summer, a moist wind blows which helps cool the air.

Culture

Most Bahraini residents are Muslim, with smaller populations of Christianity and Hinduism being the other most prominent religions. Arabic is the official language, but English is widely used, especially near the expat communities.

Compared to nearby regions, the rules regarding female attire are more relaxed, with Western clothing more common. The Ministry of Culture organises many annual festivals throughout the year for natives and tourists alike to enjoy. Notable holidays include Ramadan, Feast of the Sacrifice, National Day and Arafat Day.

Where to buy properties

Property is all over Bahrain, both in the city centre areas and expat communities specialising in houses for foreign real estate.

Al Burhama

Burhama is a city known for its agricultural orchards, real estate and trade. A lot of expats settle in Burhama, making it a friendly and thriving community to live in. It’s located about 40 minutes from Manama and has plenty of shopping and entertainment to keep you occupied.

It has a wide choice of rental apartments of various sizes, from one-bed studios to family-size apartments. These are commonly located in residential towers or skyscrapers, which provide a variety of services to their clients such as pools, garages, sports facilities and security.

Durrat Al Bahrain Islands

A cluster of 15 luxury islands, with panoramic views of the Persian Gulf and plenty of beachfront villas and apartments to choose from. It also has an 18-hole golf course, a large marina and plenty of amenities to enjoy.

Amwaj Islands

The Amwaj airports offer convenient access to the rest of Bahrain, but the privacy of being an offshore island connected by a highway to the mainland. It is made up of 6 man-made islands and features a luxury lifestyle full of modern amenities. Its apartments offer amazon views of the coast in an area known for its tourism.

Juffair

The Juffair area is one of the most vibrant areas in Bahrain, full of apartments, villas, hotels, restaurants and great tourist attractions. It has one of the most active real estate markets in the capital of Manama, so there are always great property opportunities.

The types of typical properties

There are plenty of choices for property types in Bahrain, including apartments, houses and villas. Many towers are rising in central areas, containing new property opportunities and office space alike. A lot of properties will give you stunning views over the Persian Gulf.

Moving

As a foreigner, you can buy property in Bahrain, but only freehold properties that will entitle you to a 5-year self-sponsorship for residency. It will also entitle you to a Residence Permit that allows you to sponsor your spouse and children living with you. Most expats also receive health insurance as part of their work contract

Property buying works quite standardly in Bahrain. The first step is a reservation agreement so the owner cannot sell the property to anyone else. You will then sign a sales agreement and put in a down payment. Afterwards, you’ll receive the title deed. All property agreements need to be notarized at the legislation court and the property registered with the Bahrain Survey and Land Registration Bureau.

How Offerpal can help you

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