A growing number of Filipino expatriates in the UAE have been snapping up properties back home since the Philippines reopened its economy and COVID-19 restrictions eased, with the country’s largest developer more than doubling its business in the Gulf state over the last year. 

Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), which develops large-scale, integrated and mixed-used estates in the Philippines, recorded a 157% increase in revenues in the UAE in 2022, surpassing all other foreign countries, the company said in a statement on Monday. 

With the significant jump in revenues, the UAE has become Ayala Land’s “fastest-growing” international market, the developer said. 

Total income in the UAE reached AED 7 billion ($1.9 billion) in 2022, up from AED 2.7 billion a year earlier, while overall reservation sales rose to PHP104.9 billion, up by 14% from the previous year.  

The sales were driven mainly by UAE-based Filipinos, who were “leading the pack as the most active buyers”, according to the real estate developer, which has 47 estates across the Philippines. 

The developer is also seeing a growing demand from foreigners in the UAE who are looking to invest outside the Middle East region. 

“We are also very pleased to see a growing number of foreign investors from the UAE, which is truly a world-class cosmopolitan and commercial hub,” said Anna Maria Margarita Dy, Ayala Land Executive Vice President. 

Overall sales 

The company’s real estate portfolio includes shopping malls, resorts, residential properties, hotels, offices, factory buildings and warehouses, among others. 

Ayala Land reported last month a net income from its real estate portfolio of PHP18.6 billion, up by 52%. The bulk, or around 66%, of the PHP104.9 billion reservation sales last year were generated from local Filipinos. 

Property deals with Filipino expatriates and other nationalities accounted for 22% and 13% of the overall sales, respectively.  Sales from overseas Filipinos and other foreign buyers surged by 59% and 39%, respectively. 

Real estate is a popular asset class among Filipinos working overseas.  

According to a survey by The Filipino Times, around 80% of Filipinos residing in the UAE had expressed a “strong interest” in making an investment within the next 12 months. The desire to invest was driven by higher income and better financial knowledge. 

The majority of Filipino expatriates in the UAE (96%) were also confident about the UAE economy, while 89% were positive about their companies’ growth. 

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)