Property industry experts on Tuesday said the UAE’s visa plan for expatriate homeowners was key to kick-starting the real estate market.

At the start of last month, the UAE government issued a decree granting foreigners the right to a six-month renewable residency visa if they owned properties worth at least AED1m ($272,300m).

At the time analysts said the move was unlikely to stimulate the market and called for greater clarity on visa and ownership rights.

Speaking at a Cityscape Connect breakfast event on Tuesday attended by members of the property industry, experts said the visa plan was crucial for driving demand in the market.

'The visa issue surrounds so many other things - you can’t live here, you can’t get a driving licence, you can’t open a bank account [unless you have a visa],' said Elaine Jones, CEO of Dubai-based property consultant Asteco.