The mortgage market in Dubai experienced a record-breaking year in 2021 as the total number of mortgage transactions registered with the Dubai Land Department reached 19,520, exceeding the previous high recorded back in 2017 by 26 per cent.
While the total value of mortgage transactions reached Dh127.82 billion last year. Market recorded year-on-year increase in mortgage volumes by 51 per cent and 46 per cent in value, said Mortgage Finder, a unit of the Property Finder Group.
The first quarter of 2021 had the most mortgage registrations in a single quarter, with January being the strongest month of the year, recording 3,004 mortgage transactions with a value of Dh20.82 billion.
The market remained strong throughout the year with Q4 2021 recording 4,187 mortgage registrations - 10 per cent more than the same period in 2020 and 21 per cent more than 2019.
December, generally known as a quieter month within the mortgage industry, remained consistent compared to previous years recording only a 1.3 per cent increase in mortgage registrations compared to 2020 and 3.8 per cent compared to 2019. There were 1,178 mortgage registrations in December 2021, with a value of Dh10.08 billion.
The market has witnessed an impressive bounce-back following the slump during the first half of 2020 when strict lockdown measures were implemented to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Since restrictions were lifted in Dubai, the market has been on an upward trajectory which continued throughout 2021.
The number of mortgage transactions in 2021 was up by 57 per cent compared to 2019.
“The growth seen in 2021 can be attributed to several factors which all aligned to make an impact on our industry; from the various large scale events which took place in the UAE, like Expo 2020, bringing more people into the country; to the major reform in loan-to-value ratios in 2020, which made buying more affordable for many; and finally the continued low-interest-rate environment,” said Mohamed Kaswani, Managing Director at Mortgage Finder.
In 2020, the UAE Central Bank reduced the down payment requirement for first-time buyers in the UAE by 5 per cent, taking it to 20 per cent for non-UAE nationals and 15 per cent for nationals. The change in loan-to-value ratios made a real difference to some first-time buyers as data from Mortgage Finder showed that between Q1 and Q3 2021 83 per cent of its mortgage transactions were for first-time buyers.
“The reduction in down payment requirements for first-time buyers, coupled with the generally low rate environment made buying much more achievable for some people. With fixed rates available from as little as 1.99 per cent and the lending rate sitting at just 2.39 per cent, compared to 2019 where the leading product rate was 3.75 per cent, buyers were able to take advantage of excellent mortgage offers to get onto the housing ladder,” Kaswani added.
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