The Real Estate Regulatory Authority in the Kingdom of Bahrain has recently launched a digital Real Estate Data Bank named the Aqari Data Bank ("Aqari"). The Aqari platform is designed to be a full-service platform that compliments and assists real estate practitioners by providing them with up-to date information and data that they can use to make more informed decisions.
The Aqari platform stands as an innovative service embodying the principles of good governance that underpin government operations. Its primary goal is to foster collaboration among government agencies and elevate strategic planning. It's noteworthy that the platform is an integral component of RERA's digital transformation initiatives, running concurrently with its commitment to realizing the objectives outlined in the National Real Estate Sector Plan (2021-2024). The overarching aim is to cultivate a sustainable real estate sector that positively impacts various economic domains.
The platform itself has 3 different offerings, each designed with a different end user in mind, ranging from members of the public, to real estate professionals and developers.
The 3 levels of subscription are:
- public (free to use)
- normal (BHD500 per year)
- advanced (BHD2500 per year).
The free to use subscription includes access to the Map Viewer, Development Projects Dashboard, RERA Practitioners Dashboard and Transactions Overview Dashboard. The normal subscription includes those features which are free to use, but also a Real Estate Transactions Dashboard, Building Permits Dashboard, Zoning Dashboard and Built & Non-Built Parcel Dashboard. The advanced subscription includes all those features in the free to use and normal subscription, but adds the Tourism/Hotel Dashboard, Infrastructure Dashboard, Rented & Not-Rented (Strata) Property Dashboard and Rental Market Dashboard.
Focusing on those elements which form part of the free to use service, an analysis of the scope of each feature can be found below:
- Map Viewer (Intelligent Real Estate Assistant) – an interactive map of Bahrain that provides various layers of detail such as POI (places of interest), Block Number, RERA Development Projects. The RERA Development Projects information is useful as it further provides additional detail such as the name of the developer, the name of the project, the estimated completion date and breakdown of what the project comprises.
- Real Estate Transactions Dashboard Overview – this is a database that provides current and historical data on the number of transactions and average price per square foot for different areas in Bahrain. It has various functions that allow users to filter through the available data in order to extract data relevant to the users search. For example, you are able to compare the number of transactions and average price per square foot for a compound or flat in 2023 versus 2022.
- Off Plan Register – this facility provides users with information relating to all ongoing, completed or cancelled off-plan projects. This includes the number of projects, the number of units and the overall project value, as well as allowing users to further drill down into each project and gain information relating to the name of the developer, the name of the project, the project value and a breakdown of what the project comprises.
- RERA Practitioner Dashboard – this provides an overview and breakdown of the RERA Practitioners in Bahrain, and organises the data sets by type of licence, licence status, licence status by type, owner association certified, practitioner by nationality and an overview of the CPD courses. It does not provide access to any personal or contact details.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the Chief Executive Officer at RERA in Bahrain, stated that the project contributes to establishing an integrated real estate data environment for 12 government agencies in a unified digital platform that aims to create a reliable and central national source for real estate information, becoming a primary destination for all real estate dealers to make sound decisions. He also indicated that the use of artificial intelligence had been employed to provide the best and accurate real estate digital experience in conjunction with modern technological development.
We are excited to see how the government will harness this platform and continue to improve it for end-users, as and when more features are added. The Aqari platform will undoubtedly revolutionise how the Real Estate sector in Bahrain accesses and consumes data, but also forms a fundamental cornerstone of the digitalisation that the Kingdom of Bahrain is undergoing.