The value of Arab and foreign real estate purchases in Jordan increased 33% in 2011 as the total value of investments reached 449 million dinars ($630 million), according to the Ministry of Finance's lands and survey department.
Non-Jordanians invested 250 million dinars ($353 million) in apartments and residential units and 199 million dinars ($277 million) in land purchases during 2011.
Iraqis ranked first in the number of investors among non-Jordanian buyers, followed by Kuwaitis and Saudis.
Iraqis also ranked first in terms of the market value of purchased properties, with a total investment value of 252 million dinars ($355 million), representing 56% of the total value of purchases by non-Jordanians.
"Jordan's real estate sector continues to appeal to Arab and foreign investors because of the kingdom's security and stability and the investment and economic facilities, especially for Arab residents in Jordan," said Numan Hamshari, an engineer and investor in Jordan's housing sector.
He said the total value of investment in the real estate sector by non-Jordanians rose to 7% during 2011, totalling 6.43 billion dinars ($9 billion). The typical rate was between 3% and 4% in previous years.
Zuhair al-Omari, president of Jordan's Housing Investors Society, said that the housing sector is attractive to foreign investors because of Jordan's stability, its location in the centre of the Middle East, its mild weather and the resources provided to investors, especially Arabs, to encourage real estate ownership.
He told Al-Shorfa that tax exemptions helped increase real estate activity in Jordan to unprecedented levels.
"Real estate exemptions enhance the attractiveness of the sector, especially the building and construction industries, which drives other sectors, such as cement and iron production and labour, and in turn increases the revenue to the state treasury from the taxes imposed on these sectors," he said.
However, real estate tax and fee exemptions that the government approved three years ago contributed to a decline in the state treasury of about 400 million dinars ($564.8 million), said Dr. Umayyah Toukan, Jordan's Minister of Finance, during a January 8th meeting with the Jordanian Businessmen Association.
The government revoked the real estate tax and fee exemptions at the beginning of 2012.
Ghaleb Jaafari, an investor in the construction sector, said he does not expect an increase in real estate purchases by non-Jordanians to trigger higher or inflated prices because supply can meet demand.
Jaafari called for "facilitating the approval of bank loan applications for purchasing housing units in anticipation of slower domestic demand because of the revocation of real estate exemptions".