The influx of digital nomads and expatriates in Abu Dhabi has led to a surge in property transactions in the UAE capital, according to a new report on Thursday.

A total of 11,200 homes were sold across the emirate in 2023, up by 83% from a year earlier, said British real estate adviser Savills.

The increase in demand for villas and flats has been driven by several initiatives by the government, coupled with a growing economy and new project launches.

“Abu Dhabi has also benefited from a rise in the number of expats and digital nomads,” Savills said.

Abu Dhabi emerged as the fourth-biggest destination for executive nomads in Savills’ Executive Nomad Index last year, just behind Dubai, which ranked first, Malaga and Miami.

“The emirate is proving particularly popular with Northern European executive nomads. A remote working visa is available, and for those making a longer-term commitment, golden visas are designed to attract property investors and global talent in the creative industries, financial services and start-ups,” Savills said in its earlier report.

The growing demand for homes in Abu Dhabi has led to a spike in new project launches, with more than 8,000 units launched last year, according to Stephen Forbes, Head of Savills Abu Dhabi.

“Market transparency also improved over the course of the year, making it more appealing to a broader range of investors and end-users beyond the traditional investor segment,” he noted.

“In 2023, the market had benefited from an increase in investments by foreign nationals and sustained demand levels from the Emirati population.”

Villa and apartment sales

High-end villas and townhouses remained popular last year, with 4,800 units sold, accounting for 43% of total sales in 2023.

A lot of buyers opted for off-plan units, which accounted for 84% of all villa and townhouse sales. There was also a preference for waterfront locations among occupants and investors, with demand for projects on Saadiyat Island, Yas Island and Al Reem Island topping the charts.

Apartments still emerged as the most popular, accounting for 57% of total transactions. Off-plan units accounted for 69% of the demand.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)