“So far, we have not discussed reviewing rental fees this year. Most probably, there will be no increase this year,” Salim Mohammed Al Ghamary, a Muscat Municipality Council member, told Times of Oman.

Anxieties given the prospect of an increase had previously hovered over Oman, where fears arose due to historical raises ranging from 3 to 5% in 2016, a measure taken by the Ministry of Finance in the 2016 State Budget to shore up non-oil revenues. Expatriates had been leaving as they couldn’t afford the living costs under the current state of austerity in Oman, an unnamed real estate agent told the newspaper.

According to Clutton’s 2016 outlook on Muscat, average rental rates fell by a further 2.3% during the third quarter of 2016, bringing the total decline for the year down to 8.1% in sultanate’s residential market.