(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — Some 240 real-estate projects owned by Gazans have been approved by the Department of Land and Survey (DLS), a few months after a Prime Ministry's decision to grant Gazans the right to own real estate was passed.The department announced the numbers at a meeting on Sunday, during which DLS Director Moeen Sayegh said that the total number of applications up until last Thursday reached 370 acquisition requests.
The remaining 130 requests are undergoing "necessary checks', according to Sayegh.
Last November, the Cabinet passed a decision to allow Gazans to purchase real estate.
The sector welcomed the decision after it took several hits last year, including the withdrawal of more than JD400 million worth of real estate investments.
Trade volume in the market during the first two months of 2019 dropped by 24 per cent, to JD695 million, compared with JD914 million in the same period last year, DLS data showed.
President of the Jordan Housing Developers Association Zuhair Omari told The Jordan Times in a phone interview on Sunday that 'seeing the decision materialise into action, in the form of 370 requests in just five months, is a good sign'.
'We hope to see more of it,' he added.
Omari urged the government to widen the decision's scope to include giving Gazans living in Arab Gulf states a residency permit in return for buying real estate.
'We have contacts with hundreds of Gazans living in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia who are willing to buy multiple real estates in exchange for, not necessarily a citizenship, but a residential stay,' he added.
Currently, Gazans living outside Jordan have to meet the foreign investor criteria, which 'may be too much for someone looking for just a house or an apartment', as Omari put it.
Omari noted that although the sector has been struggling, several government decisions, including the one regarding Gazans, have 'great potential to revitalise the sector.'
'There are two more things that would help speed the process of reenergising the sector, one is reducing the interest on residential bank loans, and the other is extending the fee exemption to include the first 150sq.m. of all apartments, not just ones that are under 180 sq.m.,' added Omari.
The Cabinet took several measures to help the sector, currently in slowdown, including reducing the basic price offering of real estate by 20 per cent (see separate story).
Citizens were also exempted from fees levied on ownership transfer and the consensual parcelling out of land, according to a Cabinet decision passed three days ago.