Dubai property: Four expats reveal why and how they bought homes; its benefits
As property prices hit rock bottom during the pandemic, many UAE residents bought properties to save on rent
Dubai’s real estate sector is beginning to feel the impact of the Expo 2020 Dubai – the world’s largest meeting place.
Property prices in Dubai have been increasing in the last few quarters as the market sentiment has bottomed out, resulting in strong growth in sales transactions as well as sales prices. But the Expo 2020 has given a further fillip to the demand.
According to real estate consultancy Asteco, sales prices in Dubai recorded a significant surge, particularly in regards to villa units with average quarterly and annual increases of nine per cent and 37 per cent, respectively.
The strong demand for villas has also impacted apartment sales price growth, and although less pronounced, it was still considerable at six per cent in Q3 2021 compared to Q2 2021.
As property prices hit rock bottom during the pandemic, many UAE residents bought properties in Dubai to save on rent. They are greatly benefiting now in terms of capital appreciation amidst rising rentals.
Here are some of the expats who have bought properties in Dubai and why:
Julian G, UK national
“We had looked at Dubai as an option a couple of years before, but moved to Dubai during the pandemic because it was open.
Remote working enabled us to work from another country because we have our own business. Dubai is strategically located for us to hold meetings in London and India. We always prefer our own house than to rent. Even in London, we buy property at auction and refurbish and that’s our business. It was a natural thing to move here and look at what can be done (in terms of buying a house). We bought a couple of units in Dubai, as well.
In comparison to other property markets around the world, the price is very reasonable here in Dubai. If you are buying a house in Miami, you’ll be paying a lot more. Plus, you have the benefit to sell at a higher price. Importantly, the whole process of buying property is extremely smooth because a lot of things can be done online which is not often the case in many other countries. Recently, we sold one of the properties and the deal was closed and secured within half an hour. So, Dubai has a very efficient system.
We haven’t personally used any of the new visa schemes introduced by the government of late, but I do understand it’s a pull for people from certain other countries. Retirement visa opens up a lot of demand for the market. These new visas will give confidence to foreigners to settle down in Dubai.”
Adnan Imad Al Ashkar, Syrian-Russian national
“As a business owner, it is in my nature to always look for better investment opportunities. Buying property in Dubai provides that prospect. One of the main reasons I bought the property in Dubai, is the great return of investment associated with it, as the market is on the rise and the value of properties is usually appreciating.
In addition, Dubai provides a high standard of living that is unmatched worldwide. Moreover, the Dubai real estate market is now stable, mature, and most importantly, regulated by several government entities which provide property owners with a clear path for investments or personal use of the property.
Other than the financial benefits of owning a property, it also gives a sense of belonging to Dubai, especially after the recent announcements of the Golden Visa. The new visas would provide expats with security about their future in the country.”
Nasreen Ali, a Pakistani citizen
“In my opinion, investment in property anywhere in the world is one of the safest long-term investments. And in the case of Dubai, property values are relatively lower than many other established markets but rents are higher so return on investment is lucrative, especially for apartments.
With UAE now relaxing residency laws to attract and retain expat investments, families are taking a much longer-term view of staying in the country. In doing so, buying seems to be a better option than renting. We have been living in the UAE since 2008 and have paid rent only during the initial two years.
You can imagine how much money we have saved since we bought our apartment in August 2010. The rental payments are a sunk cost while even with a mortgage, the capital invested can be recouped with the rise in property value. In addition, you are building an asset in the UAE, as well as having peace of mind, free from the hassle of moving houses, the satisfaction of owning the property and building your wealth.
A few days after buying the apartment, the UAE government announced complimentary visas for property holders. The positive news pushed property prices up quickly and in about a couple of years, our property value has appreciated more than 70 per cent. This is a clear indication that the property investors visa encouraged many expats to invest.
Expats want to live and work here for a number of perspectives such as its regional and global connectivity, safety, high living standards, tax-free income, ease of doing business and so on.
ANURAG CHATURVEDI, AN INDIAN NATIONAL
“I decided to buy because UAE is the safest place to live and an inclusive country.
Before buying, we started our search 12 months ago before we bought the property. Key considerations were to check neighbourhood, Vastu, development of the area and its neighbourhood, transport and accessibility to the city. We bought it in Furjan because it’s closer to the Expo, Sheikh Zayed Road and in the centre of key attractions.
Another aspect is to keep your finances in check, meaning you should be able to pay at least 60 per cent of property value in self-funding and EMI should be closer to last paid rent to avoid financial stress. I helped many Asians to relocate to Dubai for a better lifestyle as they have funds but looking for a country that is open and safe such as UAE.
The newly-introduced visas and regulations will support expats to stay here longer without having to worry about the visa. Also, it’s no secret that Dubai offers the most luxurious and affordable options in property compared to neighbouring countries.
In addition to feeling the happiness of buying an asset, one can always trade off the property in a growing economy like Dubai to further upgrade lifestyle.”